Photo: Screengrab Mortierbrigade
Brussels ad agency Mortierbrigade has come up with an ingenious way to get the best work possible from their interns: good interns get to live in a royalty suite, and bad interns are kept in a dungeon-like basement.Or so the shop claims (it didn’t return a message seeking comment).
Click here to see the bizarre accommodations>>
In December, the small shop announced the opening of Mortierbrigade Hotel, a building next door to the company’s office meant to house international interns. Interns start out on the ground floor, known as the Tent for Two, complete with “sleeping bags, bugs and a malfunctioning shower.” If they work hard enough, they can make their way upstairs to the Cabin in the Woods, in which they are invited to “watch a wooden movie from our James Wood DVD collection.”, Above that is the Royal Suite.
Bad interns, however, suffer a worse fate: the basement. “You might have to fight a few rats for it but don’t worry,” the website spouts, “it still beats working in your dad’s insurance company.”
“With our own hotel, we can get great international input from the new creative generation, which is great for us, and our clients. And the trainees have a nice place to stay, night and day,” partner and creative director Jens Mortier told Ads of the World. “After that they might get hired, and make enough to afford their own place.”
The Mortierbrigade Hotel’s hilarious website offers faux room reviews from David Ogilvy, Erik Vervroegen, Lee Clow, Johan Kramer, and even Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
Other amenities include dining and going out guides based on what floor interns are staying at. Interns in the tent, for example, are pointed towards eating at Ikea—”If you want to eat something sterile for a change … The only downside is there’s always one food missing from the plate”—and sightseeing at Rue Aarschot, the longest prostitution street in Europe. Or the donkeys in the Josapaht Park.
The agency has done work for Deutsche Bank, Levis, and Ebay.
One of Mortierbrigade’s past campaigns for Belgian telco Scarlet employed similar irreverent humour. The “One Weekend Off” promotion asked participants to forego televisions, phones, and computers over Christmas for the chance to win a new phone, TV, or computer. Mortierbrigade then tried to disqualify the 3,000 participating families by calling them at home (900 answered) and sending emails (1,500 opened the messages).
'The Tent for Two has all the latest in outdoor luxury: sleeping bags, bugs and a malfunctioning shower. And if that's not enough, there's even free wifi from a neighbours house (password: samuraiblanche) and for all you divas: a laundromat within 30 minutes walking distance.'
David Ogilvy, founder of Ogilvy: 'Aaah, the tent of the Mortierbrigade Hotel. The place where it all started for me. I remember writing my first book here: 'Ogilvy on moving up'. And my second: 'Ogilvy on why moving back down again is totally unfair'. Anyway, it's a fantastic place to start your ad career because like I always say: The best way to stop making crap, is to have it beaten out of you.'
'Have dinner at your wooden table from your wooden plates or watch a wooden movie from our James Wood DVD collection. Just watch out for splinters; especially when having wood.'
Lee Clow, Chairman TBWA Worldwide: 'When I first saw pictures of this cabin, man I was like: 'Whoow dude, I could really like bring my surfboard and go boarding when I'm bored of making ads and stuff'. Then I learned there is no seaside in Schaerbeek and I was like: 'Maaan?! No beach? What is this? That's so lame!' But I went anyway and I have to say, it was pretty radical. Not 360 flip radical, but kickflip radical at least, or something like it.'
'In here you'll find a bathroom with cold and hot water, food that actually has taste and the power to reign over the other floors.'
Dominique Strauss-Kahn, ex Managing Director IMF: 'In my humbler opinion, The Suite at the Mortierbrigade Hotel is like a woman who used to be attractive in her twenties: it's just not easy to get in there. You see, she's passed her prime, but she's still a class act. And class acts don't just hand over the keys to the kingdom, non! They make you work for it. You have to pull out all the stops, make your best moves. And take it from me: you'll get frustrated.
So much so that you'll try to sneak in uninvited and just take what is yours! Sacrebleu! But you won't because you're in enough legal trouble as it is. So you'll work harder until you get your moment de gloire. But you'll probably just end up settling for something easier.'
'You might have to fight a few rats for it, but don't worry: it still beats working in your dad's insurance company.'
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