Gen Z will no doubt be leading creative direction at many agencies before too long, and that means current creative needs to speak to that generation without sounding forced. To help guide the creative coming out of Le Truc, a batch of interns at Publicis Groupe’s creative collective have created a ‘Cringe Check.’
It can be difficult for those who aren’t a part of a certain age group to authentically connect with that target audience, so four of Le Truc’s interns—Jake Marchant, Isabelle Walton, Jared Montgomery and Anna Lyle Collett—launched the Cringe Check.
The point of the program is to check on the cultural relevance and point out any potential “cringe factor” in the work coming from Le Truc, as well as how it might resonate with Gen Z. It’s a private Discord server for Le Truc’s creatives (known amongst themselves as monsters) to engage in open dialogue with its resident Gen Z-ers to ask if their creative ideas are cringe or not.
“As an intern you don’t expect many people to come to you for advice. With Cringe Check we suddenly had some of the most senior staff coming to us for our opinions. All those years glued to my phone finally paid off,” said Marchant, a copywriter intern, in a statement.
The interns are also using the Cringe forum to post updates on what is trending on social, to provide inspiration and even offer slang translation.
For any creative who’s ever wondered if their next campaign is going to be mocked ruthlessly in the social stratosphere by younger generations for being out of touch or trying to speak their language without knowing the cadence, the Cringe Check offers a safe haven for honest takes on creative concepts, drafts and social content, all within in a secure Discord server.
Le Truc’s creatives are already using the Cringe Check for actual client work, including campaigns that have launched for brands across CPG, financial services and beyond.
“It has been wild to get our voices and POV suddenly vaulted to an agency wide audience. We were encouraged to regularly share our creative voices, and we were reminded we can add a valuable perspective simply because of our organic immersion in the ever-evolving social stream. Rather than using our novice position as a hinderance, we were able to turn our fresh perspectives into an empowering creative asset,” said Walton, an art director intern, in a statement.
For now, the Cringe Check is only available to Le Truc and Publicis Groupe employees, though the team did manage to create an internal poster to get interest in the concept.
“I love how we flipped the narrative on what it means to be an Intern. When you’re young and new to a career in advertising, no one thinks of you as an expert. But Cringe Check actually allowed our interns to speak up and provide real, insightful feedback.” said Evan Schultz, svp, creative director, Le Truc. “It’s a great way to give them a voice while also providing a genuinely valuable service for those of us who might not understand every new TikTok trend or emerging social platform. Many of us aging creatives—who are still grappling with the switchover to Reels on Instagram—have found real utility in Cringe Check to help squash any fears of being out of touch or off-trend.”
Anna Lyle Collett, design intern, Le Truc
Jake Marchant, copywriter intern, Le Truc
Jared Montgomery, strategist intern, Le Truc
Isabelle Walton, art director intern, Le Truc