Creative agency Waste is using Animal Crossing: New Horizons as a way to recruit diverse talent.
Waste has launched a virtual office experience in the Nintendo Switch game, where visitors will find a creative brief they can complete for a chance to win a three-month paid internship at the agency.
Alistair Campbell, executive creative director at Waste, said: "We’re looking to discover a new, diverse range of talent that we wouldn’t easily find through the usual channels. Advertising remains a predominantly white, middle-class, young and, in certain areas, even still male industry. If we want to change that, we need to change the way we find and nurture talent."
With regular physical spaces not available for use, Campbell said the agency began to look at alternative ways to bring people together, then the idea evolved into a channel they could utilise to find new talent. With more than 13 million people around the world and from all demographics using the game, the hope is that the talent search will unearth people who may not have the opportunity to enter the ad industry through more traditional routes.
Campbell added: "One big problem the agency world faces with regards to increasing diversity is that we’re always fishing from the same waters. The ad schools and courses do a great job of trying to be as representative as possible, but ultimately they can only work with the people who can afford to apply and the few that they can find bursaries for. We’re hoping that reaching out to people on a new channel will give us different results."
The creative brief can be completed by anyone over the age of 18, regardless of their location. During the coronavirus pandemic, Waste has observed that home working can be very productive and is one way to broaden the pool of people it employs, so the agency is offering the option of the internship being carried out remotely.
Waste's virtual office in Animal Crossing includes details such as clocks and artwork that mirror those that hang on the walls at the London office, as well as the agency’s big boardroom table and staff desks. The brief can be found on its virtual message board and applicants have until 14 August to submit their ideas.