The programme combines advertising fundamentals with the maker skills and tools needed to bring effective short-form, video-first campaigns to life at the speed of culture.

The programme aims to bridge the gap between creators and agency creatives. It helps agencies and brands find talent with the soft and hard skills required to create effective branded content across media platforms relevant to the current social conversation.

The benefits run both ways, as graduates will also help agencies to understand better and adapt to the new content landscape.

ONE Creator Lab will initially accommodate 50 students — up to 10 per pod — with involvement from 20 agencies and brands. Applications are now being accepted for classes starting in July. The deadline to apply is Sunday, 21 May.

The programme launches in the United States of America and Canada, with potential expansion to other regions.

The idea for The Lab began last year when The One Club hired programme director Jerrod New, whose education technology background includes developing training content and launching new learning programmes.

He engaged with a group of more than 150 agency CCOs and related subject matter experts from around the world to identify the skills and capabilities critical to emerging creators' roles at:
ad agencies,
design studios,
production firms and in-house brand teams, and worked with them to develop learning content.

Target applicants include those currently outside of advertising, such as people making engaging TikTok videos who want to build that ability into a career to help brands connect with customers. They may be creating their content now but struggle to grow their audience and meet potential brand sponsors, often leading to burnout.

The Lab offers a supportive environment to learn the skills and build relationships needed to achieve creator influencer status while solving brand marketing challenges.

ONE Creator Lab is a modern alternative to traditional ad schools, which haven't fully adapted their curriculum to fit the new digital ecosystem, typically take two-to-six years to complete, and can be cost-prohibitive at USD$40 000 or more in tuition.

To make the programme as accessible as possible, The Lab is nearly cost-free for students. Once accepted, they pay only a tax-deductible USD$95 fee to reserve their enrollment and make a pay-it-forward pledge to give back the equivalent of a USD$10 000 tuition.

Students can do that by agreeing to donate 100 hours of their time towards mentoring, teaching, creating learning content, fundraising for scholarships and future programmes, and other community-building activities.

The programme is much shorter and more affordable than ad schools, providing participants with the fundamentals of what it takes to work in advertising and the production skills to concept and make content at the speed of culture — work that's timely, relevant and resonates with the current cultural moment — without incurring the burden of costly tuition and loans.

"Agencies and brands face a creator talent gap because traditional ad schools aren’t set up to produce grads with that skill set," says Kevin Swanepoel, CEO of The One Club.

"We've worked directly with agencies and brands to understand what they need and developed courses that train students on the insights, strategies, ideation and tools they need to produce effective content at the speed of culture that can live across media platforms," adds Swanepoel.

"At TikTok, we always empower brands and creative agencies to trust creators and think about them as if they're part of the in-house creative teams," says Krystle Watler, head of creative Agency Partnerships, North America, TikTok.

Watler adds, "We're proud to partner with The One Club to bring that advice to life in a way that serves creators, brands, and agencies alike."

The brand work for The Lab was developed by brand transformation consultancy COLLINS, based in New York and San Francisco.

"One Creator Lab is beyond timely, given not only the explosion in costs for a creative education but also to take the dazzling technological change happening all around us and turn it to creative people's advantage," says Brian Collins, co-founder of COLLINS.

Collins adds, "The Lab faculty is not only on the field every day, but they are on the very, very top of their games. So students will accelerate like crazy here. We are thrilled to be an early supporter."

Sessions will be led by agency, creator, and tech industry experts, and the curriculum will continually change as tech tools, platforms and consumer habits evolve. Students will spend two days per week meeting with instructors and mentors online, and one day where they will travel to a participating agency or brand in their area to present work and get in-person feedback.

Students will work on real-world assignments and present their ideas and prototypes to instructors and peers for feedback. Course topics include:
  • making short-form video first campaigns
  • developing your voice, and
  • how to work with creative teams at brands and agencies.

Graduates will have the skill sets needed to develop a professional portfolio to interview for entry-level roles, apprenticeships and paid internship opportunities at agencies and brands, as well as do freelance work.

Allies in Recruiting, which recently became part of The One Club, will provide mentorship on developing:
  • a professional brand
  • portfolio, and
  • interviewing skills.

The programme will be supported by a campaign created by R/GA, launching soon.

ONE Creator Lab follows on the success of ONE School, The One Club's groundbreaking free portfolio programme for Black creatives that, in just two years, has an 82% hire rate at 90 top agencies and brands for its 154 grads — 66% of them women.

Individuals can apply on the ONE Creator Lab website before the Sunday, 21 May deadline.

For more information, visit You can also follow The One Club for Creativity on FacebookTwitter or on Instagram.