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Daniel Marks

Tackling diversity issues with Big Bang internships

Headhunting firm Daniel Marks is tackling diversity issues head on with its Big Bang creative and marketing internship scheme

From left: Louis Alleyne, young person ambassador at Daniel Marks; Anthony Morrison-Bowen holding his Rising Star Award; Dan Matthews, CEO and founder of Daniel Marks
From left: Louis Alleyne, young person ambassador at Daniel Marks; Anthony Morrison-Bowen holding his Rising Star Award; Dan Matthews, CEO and founder of Daniel Marks

Helping young people from diverse backgrounds

The Big Bang creative internship scheme was set up last year to help young creative minds from diverse backgrounds get a start in the creative and marketing industry.

This year, working closely with The Prince’s Trust, A New Direction and a number of local colleges, Daniel Marks has been attracting a wide pool of young creative talent from diverse backgrounds to submit creative entries in answer to a brief.

Applicants were challenged to respond to the brief: ‘Create a brand and advertise an IFO - an Identified Flying Object.’ The entries involved creating a new brand name, three pieces of advertising and a two-page case study.

Top creative agencies and brands

Over 100 judges from 75 different companies gathered for a series of roundtable events at the Daniel Marks offices, by Oxford Circus, to review more than 50 finalist entries, shortlisted from over 100 applications.

The panel included executive creative directors from London’s top agencies including Mother, Grey, Havas, Publicis, Ogilvy & Mather, R/GA, AnalogFolk and Razorfish, and heads of marketing from brands including Innocent, Farfetch, BBC, The Guardian, GHD, Vita Coco and notonthehighstreet.com.

Big Bang Roundtable 2016

The Big Bang 2016 roundtable event with agency judges - 6 Oct 2016

High quality entries

"Nostalgic and cool", "pretty slick presentation", "strong design sensibilities" and "heartfelt manifesto" were some of the judges’ comments whilst reviewing the entries, which ranged from a frisbee called Voler to a boomerang called Vivo.

Other entries included Up - a build your own toy kit which can make anything fly, Bug - a tiny flying running mate your program a route to follow whilst running, and Birdie - a camera you throw in the air to take a group selfie.

Over 50 finalists have been offered a total of 170 meetings with top creative agencies and brands, with a view to taking paid internships at London living wage.

"A rare gem"

The judges have also agreed on an overall Rising Star winner, Anthony Morrison Bowen, 24, whose NasDrone is a flying AI device with a Virtual Reality headset you connect to you personal drone, akin to a second life.

Dan Matthews, CEO and founder of Daniel Marks, enthused: "Anthony’s idea is an incredible concept that could change not only the way we live but also the world we live in. His advertising of NasDrone also showed a creative flair. He’s clearly a rare gem who needs a home to develop his ideas and thoughts and we look forward to seeing where his natural talent takes him once he starts his internships."

On winning the Rising Star award, Morrison-Bowen commented: "I feel dizzy" This is a dream come true. I’ve always had ideas and to have the opportunity to work in the creative industry means everything."

Having been forced to drop out of college and leave home when he was 16, he has always wanted to work in advertising but didn’t know how to get into the industry. Whilst sat at home in Waltham Cross he searched online for advertising internships and saw details about the Big Bang.

"Strong pipeline of female creative talent"

Daniel Marks has also been working closely with Creative Equals to improve gender equality by increasing the number of female entrants and judges. This year, half of the judges were female leaders in their field and over half of the finalists were female.

"The quality of work was outstanding, however, it's also important for the work to be judged through gender diverse perspectives", said Ali Hanan, founder of Creative Equals.

"Along with 'known names' like Caitlin Ryan (ECD, Cheil), L.A. Ronayne (CD, Havas Workclub) and Becky McOwen-Banks (CD, FCB Inferno), the student's work was evaluated by up-and-coming 'names to watch', including Tori Fannon (art director, Creature London), Rita Bourma (UX, Possible), Emma Scott-Robinson (CD, Razorfish) and Jen Hazelwood (CD, R/GA).

"All these senior female leaders are committed to dropping the ladder back down. That way the industry will have a strong pipeline of future female creative talent - and, more importantly, the mentors to shape them."

"Beautifully diverse work"

Commenting on the overall entries, Vicky Yorke, outcomes manager at The Prince’s Trust, said: "I was really impressed by the Big Bang Scheme and the creative talent expressed by the young people. It was inspiring to see so many senior creative leaders showing enthusiasm to hiring diverse, young talent."

Comments from the creative team at Mother included: "From flying sharks to buddhist symbology, Big Bang was full of beautifully diverse work that broke away from the student cliches."

Logos all judges

The panel included executive creative directors and heads of marketing from London’s agencies and brands


Nick Turner, chief creative officer, EMEA, at SapientNitro and Razorfish, said: "The calibre of entries goes from strength to strength each year. This year saw a wider range of skills from design to copywriting, from advertising to product invention. I was really impressed with the insights in some ideas and the execution in others. Everyone on the shortlist should be proud of what they have achieved."

Pip Brook, marketing director, EMEA, at Vita Coco, commented: "It was fantastic to see so much creative inspiration and vision coming from individuals who just need to be given that one chance in life to showcase their work in the right way, which doesn’t come easily for many of them.  It has certainly made me consider how we recruit for marketing newcomers going forward in our business."  

When asked what she looks for in rising talent, L.A. Ronayne, creative director at Havas, commented: "I love finding people who are equal parts talent and character. Folks unlike everybody else who come with lateral, fresh ideas, as well as energy and humour, are the dream".

Giving young people an opportunity

Dan Matthews added: "We’re delighted not only with the quality of work we’ve been able to review from the young people who’ve answered the brief, but also the positive response we’ve had from our clients who have been so keen to support the initiative.

"Over 50 finalists now have a meeting with a leading agency or brand with a view to taking a paid internship. This is a great result for everyone involved and shows the industry is as keen as we are to help tackle the key issues whilst giving young people an opportunity."

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