Creature signs up ad school hopeful whose fundraising story went viral

Adi Hussain started a three-month contract at the agency this week.

Creature signs up ad school hopeful whose fundraising story went viral

Creature has offered Adi Hussain, the budding creative whose story about the financial difficulties of breaking into the ad industry went viral, a three-month work placement as part of a plan to bring down the barriers to entry for under-represented talent.

Hussain landed a scholarship at the School of Communication Arts 2.0 for September’s intake, which halved his tuition fees, but still needed to raise thousands of pounds to get on the course and cover living costs. Hussain, who describes himself as “British Pakistani, born out of the benefits class, and a carer to my disabled mum”, went on to launch a GoFundMe

He shared his story on Campaign, writing that “adland continues to scream for more people like me. People from diverse backgrounds, with different socioeconomic experiences and insights. People with different-coloured skin. Meanwhile, here’s me, tripping up at the first financial hurdle, as diversity committees and new schemes like BRiM are being liked, shared and retweeted.” 

After hearing his story, the team at Creature got in touch with Adi and offered him a three-month “development placement”, during which he will do on-the-job learning. Working with Hussain, the agency plans to hone a programme called “In the Wild”, which will include training and mentorship for creatives hoping to break into adland who have not had the chance to develop a portfolio.

‘Absolutely wicked’

Commenting on the offer from Creature, Hussain said it was “absolutely wicked”.

“This programme is one of those openings that gives people more opportunities to step into an agency rather than needing to go into a school and get your placement,” he said.

“When people like me look at a school and look at the fees, that’s almost enough for someone to say: ‘This isn’t going to happen for me.’”

Hussain called for more attention to be paid to socio-economic status when it came to diversity. He said: “I didn’t think the fact that I was British Pakistani got in the way, it’s really just been financial.”

Creature is a sponsor of SCA. The agency's chief executive Dan Cullen-Shute and chief creative officer Stu Outhwaite-Noel both stressed their support for ad schools but also pointed out how the need for creative recruits to put together a portfolio affected access to the industry.

Cullen-Shute said: “This isn’t a slight or an attack on the portfolio school but what doesn’t feel right to us is that there aren’t other ways.”

Reflecting on the "In the Wild" scheme and the possibility of other agencies developing their own versions, Outhwaite-Noel added: “It does feel like we might be setting up something quite exciting.”