Getting your foot in the door at your first job out of college has been a challenge for generations. It is particularly difficult in the talent-rich world of Madison Avenue. Over my years in advertising, I saw a number of ingenious tricks to gain the attention of hiring managers—from singing telegrams to pies topped with the job seeker’s phone number written in icing delivered via bike messenger.
But one particularly creative approach has been getting a fair amount of notice across the Internet. Two twenty-somethings named Akos Papp and Laszlo Szloboda created a "Toilet Book," a 16-page version of their creative portfolio strategically placed in the bathroom stalls of nine advertising agencies in New York City.
“Creative Directors don't have much time to check out student portfolios. But we figured, that there are five minutes in their day, when they are alone and willing to read just about anything. On the toilet.”
And guess what, their stunt landed them both jobs at the prestigious BBDO advertising agency as a junior art director and a copywriter.
Here’s how it worked. The team “raided” nine top New York ad agencies by asking the agencies' security guards if they could use the bathroom. Once inside, they mounted "The Toilet Book" to the bathroom walls—within close proximity to where they knew executives would be hanging out with little else to do but read their sales materials.
The 16-page book starts out with, "To break into advertising, we need five minutes from your busy schedule to look at our work. Well, you have five minutes now, and let's face it, you're dying to read just about anything.... Let's get this shit started."
"The book illustrates their type of humor," says Mihai Botarel, their instructor from the Miami Ad School and also a copywriter at Tribal DDB in New York. "This self-ironic approach shows they've got to be able to take a joke if you put their work in a toilet. They made their portfolio into a portfolio piece."
Papp and Szloboda were contacted by six of the nine agencies.
And the rest is Mad Men history.