A stand against unpaid internships

Zulu Alpha Kilo is promoting its "Employeeship" program by challenging the entire industry to start paying their interns.

Have you heard? Subway tokens are the new exposure!

That’s right. For this job, we can’t really “afford” to pay you in “cash,” per “se”, but you know what’s more valuable than cash? More valuable than exposure? That’s right, subway tokens!

Okay, so we at Stimulant aren’t actually hiring someone (and if we did, we promise we would pay in more than just transit tokens), but Zulu Alpha Kilo is — and it wants to make it clear that if you’re working, you’re getting paid.

Zulu has already tackled spec work in the past, now it’s taking a stand against unpaid internships. For the second year in a row, it’s hosted the “40K a Year Employeeship” competition, which gives aspiring creatives a chance to compete for the most coveted prize of all: a real job. Yeah, like, with a desk and a chair and a place to put your family photos, and… a salary.

This year, to mark the second iteration of the contest, Zulu is accompanying it with a campaign that challenges the industry to do away with internships altogether. The campaign, which is promoted through social media and poster advertising (targeting post-secondary campuses, naturally) aims to anger up the blood a little, by calling out inequality in the workplace, the size of awards budgets compared to interns’ salaries, and, of course, the ol’ “We’ll comp your transit pass” routine.

The videos also lampoon various agency trends and warn students to “say no” to an unpaid internship.

Founder and CEO Zak Mroueh said internships in their current state aren’t often great for either the worker or the agency. “In some cases, it’s more work for the agency if the students don’t add value.”

Last year’s competition saw five of the 10 finalists hired full-time. Applicants for this year’s program will be accepted until Feb. 20.

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Credits

Agency/advertiser: Zulu Alpha Kilo
Creative director: Zak Mroueh
Art director: Nathen Ping, Brendan McMullen (video)
Design director/designer: Ryan Booth
Writer: Monika Leck, Jacob Pacey (video)
Mac artist: Greg Heptinstall, Andrew Martin, Brandon Dyson
Agency print producer: Teresa Bayley
Account team: Maegan Thomas, Matt Sinuita
Agency producer: Revital Grunberg
Production house: Zulubot
Director: Zak Mroueh
Production house producer: David “Grover” Cosgrove / Marc Milliard
Director of photography: Rob Dutchin
Second camera: Stefan MacDonald Labelle
Casting director: Shasta Lutz, Jigsaw Casting
Video post facility:  Zulubot
Editor: Jay Baker
Audio post facility: Sulubot
Engineer: Stephen Stepanic