NABS Vintage Intern Auction returns

Back for its second year, ad industry heavyweights will intern for a day at the highest bidding companies.

It’s probably been a while since CBC radio personality Terry O’Reilly worked as an intern. But that’s where the host of Age of Persuasion found himself last year at Taxi in New York, delivering a seminar on how to make good radio creative.

He was just one high-profile participant in the National Advertising and Benevolent Society’s (NABS) Vintage Intern Auction, which is back for a second year. The charity auction sees companies bid for the rights to have well-known Canadian executives serve as unpaid interns for a day.

“If you reach out to people and ask them to do something really specific like this, you get a good response,” says the group’s executive director Jim Warrington. “It’s very gratifying.”

Zulu Alpha Kilo came up with the idea for the campaign last year, and are once again the driving force behind the creative for the 2012 auction, which involves a series of still-life scenes punctuated by tokens of personal achievement specific to several “interns,”  as well as mock cover letters detailing extravagant work histories. The campaign will be featured online as well as in targeted industry publications.

NABS is a 29-year-old charitable group that provides assistance to people in the communications and related industries who may need help due to illness, injury, unemployment or financial difficulties. The group raised $25,000 last year with the auction and is aiming to push that figure as high as $50,000 this year. Warrington says in addition to the obvious fundraising goals of the auction, it also provides the group visibility within the industry.

Some industry names up for bidding this year include DDB’s Frank Palmer, Leo Burnett’s Judy John, Swim’s Nancy Vonk (formerly of Ogilvy) and Schulich professor Alan Middleton. Interns cannot be assigned tasks which conflict professionally, and duties may range from collecting coffee orders to conducting team-building seminars to speaking at conferences.

The online auction is being held at nabs.org/vintageintern and runs until Sept. 30.  All proceeds from the auction will go to NABS clients for counselling, help line and financial assistance programs.