Vita Coco Asks Aspiring Designers to Finish This Ad, and Will Hire Whoever Does It Best

Playful stunt from Interesting Development

It reads like a personals ad.

"You are an aspiring designer who's just starting out, or starting over during a very difficult time. We are a company that wants to help you get started, but also could really use your help—as evidenced by our big empty green billboard on Sunset. Fortunately we found each other at the right moment at the right place."

The appeal comes from Vita Coco, the coconut water last seen thanking NYC bodegas, in their own colorful visual language, for being there during Covid. This latest effort, from Vita's agency Interesting Development, involves a half-finished billboard in Los Angeles—which the brand is asking recent grads and other aspiring designers to finish for a chance at a design job at the company, as well as other prizes.

It works like this. Snap a photo of the billboard IRL, or download the assets from this website. Design on the green screen, and upload your finished ad to Instagram or Twitter, while tagging Vita Coco and using the hashtags #CompleteVC #Entry.

The first 100 submissions get a year's subscription to Squarespace. The top 10 will get $1,000 in cash each. And the winner will get their first job as a junior designer with Vita Coco. As the submissions come in, the brand will also feature them on social, and the best ones will replace the green screen on Sunset.

A billboard company in NYC has also offered to run the campaign for free in New York—an offer the brand plans to accept.

The common criticism of stunts like this is that the brand gets free ideas, though Interesting Development creative chief Paul Caiozzo says that's not the goal at all.

"We didn't want this to be a contest, or to be a crowdsourced call for free work. People are struggling enough without making our ads for free," he says. "We were hoping that in addition to helping out recent creative grads, this would allow a more diverse group of people to apply. Maybe people who didn't have the resources to put together a fancy portfolio but still had amazing talent. Which could be revealed in them doing anything they wanted with the green screen board."

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Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd is editor in chief of the Clio Awards and founding editor of Muse by Clio. Prior to joining Clio in 2018, he was creative editor at Adweek.

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