Scott Sallee

Social Impact Manager

Last December, we teamed up with WWF to challenge students from across the UK to respond to a marketing brief to help tackle climate change. The brief was central to our  Rise Up’ competition, which is run in partnership with MyKindaFuture and is a significant part of our commitment to the next generation of talent.  

More than 660 students participated in workshops led by volunteers across DAN to help build their understanding of marketing, the different tools and techniques that can be used, and the wide variety of roles available in the industry.  
Student project entries were whittled down to 13 shortlisted teams who had the opportunity to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges from WWF, media agency Vizeum, and Facebook at the Facebook London headquarters. 

Three students from Oaklands College in St Albans were declared winners after devising a concept that would bring renewable fashion to the masses. The team successfully blended technology, a creative presentation, and a demonstrable approach to measurement in their response. The three students will now join Dentsu Aegis Network for work experience and co-create their campaign idea to bring it to life for WWF.  

It represents the third year that a campaign idea has been selected from the Dentsu Aegis Network’s The Code and Rise Up initiatives. The first led to the development of Guys, It’s OK to Talk with youth charity The Mix, while last year’s answered a brief from Jaguar Land Rover that is currently in development. 

Rise Up and The Code represent part of who we are at Dentsu and how we act as a company. The programme is a tangible part of our commitment to diversity and inclusion and provides valuable development opportunities for our people.  

Meanwhile, three ‘Highly Commended’ were also chosen from the 13 teams, which came from the following schools: 

  • Boroughmuir High School, Edinburgh  
  • Elliott Hudson College, Leeds 
  • Oaklands College, St. Albans 

It is important to note that two of the Highly Commended entries were pitched remotely. As we work on our mission of Creating a Digital Economy that Works for All, it reminds us of the power that digital has to reduce inequalities, break down societal barriers, and create opportunities for collaboration.  

Polly Bianchi, Head of Acquisition, and Fern Milburn, Senior Marketing Manager, WWF said: 

​“The knowledge that they came to the brief with was fantastic - it's been sensational. 

The ideas were fresh and I was very impressed. Their passion shown through. They weren't only responding to a brief, but responding to an issue they really felt strongly about themselves. 

They've done a lot of work - from market research to data and  insights - and I think that there are some ideas here that we can work with the students on and bring them to life!” 

Anna Lungley, Global Head of Social Impact, Dentsu Aegis Network, said: 

 “​Our biggest challenge as an industry - from a sustainability perspective - is  diversity. It is a real issue because diversity creates different perspectives, which leads to creativity and innovation.  Creativity and Innovation - that's the lifeblood of what we do at Dentsu. It's what our clients come to us for.  The Code  is fantastic as it meets a real business objective.” 

Hannah Kane, Planning Manager, Vizeum, said: 

“This was honestly one of the highlights of my entire career!” 

a Teacher and Head of Careers said:  ​ 

​​This programme is  life-changing  for our students . We have a real challenge at the moment in schools, and when the enrichment is cut, the students suffer. Opportunities like these are really, hugely valuable. The group of very diverse  students here today are not those who are usually celebrated. They're often overlooked and don't necessarily get chosen. it was  deeply inspiring and extraordinary for us to see them on stage.  This was a huge jump , cognitively  and  emotionally, for our students, who are not used to this environment or to be told that their ideas matter, that they could have something of value to bring, that they’re welcome here.” 

Susanne Schmid, Regional Agency Lead for Dentsu at Facebook, said:  

​​“It's incredible to see the creativity and confidence from students of such diverse backgrounds. They have amazing ideas and fresh perspectives, angles we haven’t thought of.  And we have the experience in making things happen. Those two aspects in combination would result in fantastic campaigns.” 

As in previous years, the work that the students have produced has exceeded our expectations and demonstrates the  brave  and  innovative  thinking that can be found when we  co-create  with this generation. We’re looking forward to working with the students and bringing their ideas to life.  Social Impact is our strategy to Create a Digital Economy that Works for All. As a global network of 60,000 passionate people, we have the creativity, skills, and potential to make this happen.