NABS brings back the Vintage Intern Auction

Judy John, get ready to take a lunch order. (Or give a seminar on how to win at Cannes.) The National Advertising and Benevolent Society (NABS), in partnership with Toronto agency Zulu Alpha Kilo, has announced the return of the NABS Vintage Intern Auction, which launched last year. The initiative for the charitable organization will […]

Judy John, get ready to take a lunch order. (Or give a seminar on how to win at Cannes.)

The National Advertising and Benevolent Society (NABS), in partnership with Toronto agency Zulu Alpha Kilo, has announced the return of the NABS Vintage Intern Auction, which launched last year.

The initiative for the charitable organization will see top Canadian marketing and media executives serve as interns-for-the-day with the highest-bidding companies. The auction process began online Sept. 7 and includes Leo Burnett’s Judy John, DDB’s Frank Palmer, Swim’s Nancy Vonk, York University’s Alan Middleton, OMD’s Cathy Collier, Mandrake’s Stefan Danis, Sid Lee’s Philippe Meunier, and Paula Gignac, formerly of the IAB.


The campaign was created by Zulu, which worked on the campaign last year. Once again, the agency using humour to promote the project, which features headshots of each intern along with exaggerated statements that reflect their true professional station in life. For example, “Hi, I’m Frank Palmer and I’d like to be your intern. My private jet pilot will be in touch to arrange a meeting.” And “Hi, I’m Judy John and I’m interested in an internship. To see my portfolio, book a ticket to Cannes.”

The online ads are running on industry publication websites, in Postmedia Business, Investment Executive and in the Zoom Media Network.

Also included in the campaign are mock cover letters detailing extravagant work histories, all for the sake of securing an internship. For example, Meunier’s letter notes he has connections with clowns and trapeze artists (as the agency is known for its work with Cirque du Soleil).

“It’s really insights into each person and each agency,” said Zak Mroueh, Zulu founder and creative director. The letters will be sent out in a mass e-mail and direct mail push to HR departments, creative directors and agency presidents.

The auction “got great reviews last year,” said Jim Warrington, executive director at NABS, adding it raised $25,000.

Though interns cannot be assigned tasks which conflict professionally, duties may range from collecting coffee orders to conducting team-building seminars to speaking at conferences. Last year, for example, Paul Lavoie bid on and was successful in acquiring Pirate Radio’s Terry O’Reilly, said Warrington. “He flew Terry O’Reilly to the New York office of Taxi to give a seminar on how write good radio creative.”

The auction is being held at NABS.org/VintageIntern and runs until Sept. 30.

NABS’ goal this year is to raise between $35,000 and $50,000. All proceeds will go to NABS for counselling, help line and financial assistance programs.

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