Zulu auctions agency executives for NABS fundraiser

November 29, 2011  |  Chris Powell  |  Comments

“Lavoie, get me a coffee!”

The National Advertising Benevolent Society (NABS) has turned the page on one of its fundraising mainstays, turning the tables on a few agency leaders in the process.

The national charitable organization has partnered with Toronto agency Zulu Alpha Kilo on a new initiative called the “NABS Vintage Intern Auction.” The initiative makes nine of Canada’s leading advertising executives – a group that includes Rethink’s Chris Staples, Pirate Radio & Television’s Terry O’Reilly, Taxi’s Paul Lavoie and ZenithOptimedia Canada’s Sunni Boot – available as interns for a day to the highest bidder.

The new Intern Auction replaces NABS’ long-running calendar, which has enlisted various agencies to create a calendar around a particular theme (the theme for the 2011 calendar, created by The Hive, was “Birthdays”)

“A lot of these calendars end up in the recycling bin, and we wanted to do something totally new and different,” said Zak Mroueh, president and creative director at Zulu Alpha Kilo. “We thought this would be a lot of fun and we could possibly create a bidding war between clients and agencies.

“You can get these people to give a speech and inspire the troops, or literally get them to work as interns.”

Zulu has created a series of online ads promoting the Dec. 16 auction that feature pictures of each of the ad executives up for auction, accompanied by provocative headlines such as “These interns make other interns look like interns,” and “Let’s see how they feel about open concept when they’re sitting in cubicles.”

A second wave of ads features the nine agency executives coping with being an intern. One ad features a harried-looking Staples manning the phones, while another shows Mroueh pushing a mail cart. A third shows Juniper Park president Jill Nykoliation delivering coffee to a group in a boardroom.

Mroueh said that Zulu presented about 10 different creative approaches to NABS, with the intern auction ultimately selected because it was an idea with some longevity.

“It felt like something that we could actually continue and every year do an auction with different people,” said Mroueh. “There are a lot of people in the industry that we can tap into.”

The online auction is running at NABS.org/VintageIntern until Dec. 16. All proceeds go to NABS.

Sad to see the calendar go? Got any good ideas on who you’d bid on, and why? Post your thoughts in our comment section.

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