Last year, Havas New York chief creative officer Harry Bernstein (also known as Harry Bee) took a very public gamble by offering up his mobile phone number to aspiring interns. After splattering his digits in ads around New York and on 14 college campuses, the founder of The 88 (which was acquired by Havas in 2017) ended up getting around 2,000 texts that he and his team worked through, eventually landing on 40 interns in 2018.
This year, Bernstein is taking the internship search in a decidedly different direction by asking prospective Havas New York interns to fill out a postcard. The twist on the approach is that, instead of trying to sell one’s self, Bernstein is asking everyone to tell his team about the world that they want to create. It is similar to last year’s theme, but instead of coming up with a list of ideas to change the world, it’s up to each individual to think a little more deeply about envisioning a better world.
“What’s Your World” launched Tuesday and will run for two weeks. Additionally, the 40 interns chosen can work across all departments at the agency, where they will work on client accounts and the annual Havas internship NGO assignment.
Those interested can fill out a pre-printed postcard to or create their own (dimensions are below) and send it to 200 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10013 or drop it off at the agency’s dedicated mailbox outside of its office in Tribeca.
We caught up with Bernstein to find out about this year’s effort, what he’s looking for in an intern and more.
Adweek: Why did you decide to go this route instead of having people text this year?
Harry Bernstein: Last year was about the simple constraints of text. Words and emojis. This year, I wanted to take another analog approach that would democratize the process and get people off their phones. Our social feeds have created individual worlds that are algorithmically being fed to us continuously. It’s a world of politics we feel we can’t control, [it’s] true unfathomable violence, and sensationalized fake news. I believe it isn’t too late to create the changes we want to see in this world. The future is in the hands of the creative minds that are finishing school and inheriting this world—they just need to unplug from their feeds and begin to imagine a world they want, and I thought what better medium than a 5.8 x 4.1 postcard. Why postcards? They are awesome—everyone loves receiving a mini poster that represents the highlight of their trip.
Do you think that you’ll hit 2,000 inquires like you did last year?
Last year’s campaign was amazingly fun, and I am still doing thumb stretches to prevent carpal tunnel. This exercise, however, isn’t about getting the most inquiries. It’s about getting the most driven people who are happy, hungry and curious. Those are the kind of people I want to work across the agency.
This year is more personal—envisioning the type of world people want to live in. Why the change?
Last year was about recognizing that the world needed change and [we asked people] to suggest what changes needed to be made. This year I want to begin to envision this new world. I believe in the power of visualization and our part in creating the changes we want to see–whether they be big or small.
How will you manage the influx? How will you vet the candidates?
I want these ideas to be based on reality but not constrained by it. I will review the cards based on a few things:
1. Is the idea unique and have some truth?
2. Is it well crafted? Craft is very important.
3. Does it inspire me and make me feel?
What advice would you give people when they fill out their postcard?
These postcards are meant to be a challenge for you to really envision the world you wish to share. Inspire me to want to plan my next vacation with my family to this place. Half joking. It’s easy to complain about what you don’t like. But to inspire me by your vision speaks volumes. Anyone with the power to be creative can change the world by a vision alone. All you need to do is create it and share it!
What will blow you away in a potential intern?
I expect from my interns what I expect from all my employees. To be happy, hungry and curious. I want to see optimism, drive and someone who questions everything. This card is about not accepting this world and the problems we might have inherited. It’s about creating a new one.