Dentsu Aegis advances new talent’s tech chops

Partnering with Google on an internship program aims to bring innovative thinking into its agencies from the bottom up.

Dentsu Aegis and Google Canada have partnered to create the Digital Advance Internship Program, an effort to not only give two recent grads the most cutting-edge tech knowledge possible, but bring that knowledge with them back to the media agency.

The selected candidates will begin with a four-week induction phase at Dentsu Aegis next week to give them deeper knowledge of digital media, covering things like programmatic and how to work with it in terms of planning and investment.

The interns then begin a six-week program at Google Canada, working with its sales, product and tech experts to learn about the ad tech products available in Canada (like DoubleClick and AdWords) and get a view of emerging technologies like machine learning and AI.

Following that, both candidates will receive full-time placement at one of Dentsu Aegis’ media agencies.

Will Oatley, SVP and commercial director at Dentsu Aegis Network, says creating this kind of program doesn’t just bring in tech- and innovation-minded young talent, but also gets them at the forefront of technology as quickly as possible.

He says academic programs try to keep up with the latest developments, but technology evolves incredibly fast, and academic programs can easily be out of date by the time someone graduates – adding more tasks to their onboarding process once they find a job.

“A huge part of coming into the company at entry level is getting them up to speed as quickly as we can, and our clients’ business isn’t going to slow down for them,” Oatley says. “This gets recent grads we bring in up to speed much faster and gets them on the forefront of the tech landscape right from the start of their career.”

This training can then be passed on to the rest of the agency. While Google is a long-time Dentsu Aegis partner and a great deal of its ad spend (like most media agencies) goes through the tech giant, the agencies are still one-degree removed from what goes on there. Candidates in the internship program will be inside Google’s offices, getting first-hand knowledge of how products work and seeing how Google responds to briefs from Dentsu Aegis sales team, the agencies’ main point of contact with Google.

As well as building a greater understand of how one of its largest partners works, the program gives the candidates the ability to identify new opportunities agency staff might not have otherwise been able to see, and get a head start on tech that’s still to come.

“The driver of this is how do we identify and retain the best talent in a technology driven landscape, how do we service our clients businesses better and drive tech transformation internally,” he says. “Everyone’s always doing that from the top down, but we think this could give us a unique bottom-up approach that we’d really like to scale.”