Whirlpool Corporation has announced a six-figure annual sponsorship agreement between its World of Whirlpool Studios and The One Club for Creativity to support the club’s groundbreaking ONE School, a free 16-week online portfolio program designed to open doors to a career in advertising for talented Black creatives.
ONE School was launched in 2020 by The One Club, the world’s foremost nonprofit organization whose mission is to support the global creative community, as the first free alternative to costly ad schools for a new generation of Black creatives, and a way to make creative departments more diverse. Top Black creative professionals at ad agencies and brands serve as tutors and mentors to teach creative skills and help students bring their authentic voice into their work.
Referred to as the largest social change program in U.S. advertising history, the results-oriented program has already made a tangible difference: an 84% hire rate at top agencies and brands to date for its 128 graduates, 66% of whom are women. The program has had cohorts in New York, Chicago, Atlanta, and Los Angeles, and just expanded internationally with the launch this month of ONE School U.K.
WoW Studios’ sponsorship will help ensure that the high cost of portfolio schools – often running in the range of $40,000 – does not get in the way of giving Black creative talent entry into the industry. The partnership also aligns with Whirlpool Corporation’s multi-year racial equality and fairness pledge announced in 2020.
“We are incredibly excited to partner with One School, not only in the form of the annual sponsorship, but really being hands-on with their talented, black creative students,” said Otto Linwood III, head of production and studio at WOW Studios, Whirlpool Corporation’s 250-person next-gen in-house agency for advertising, storytelling, and experience. “It is imperative that we have a diversity of voices within the creative population of WoW Studios, so our work reflects and resonates with the diverse households where our products are used day in and day out.”
Beyond the annual sponsorship, WoW Studios is planning to host students at the company’s Chicago studio this spring, and to develop meaningful, ongoing mentorship programs in addition to those already in place for the students, and contribute to the school’s upcoming curriculum with special projects and creative briefs.
Launched last summer, WoW Studios is an in-house brand experience organization designed to transform the home appliance end-to-end consumer journey into immersive consumer experiences. Located in the heart of Chicago at the iconic Reid Murdoch building, the multi-disciplinary creative team works across Whirlpool Corporation’s North American brand portfolio, including the Whirlpool, KitchenAid, Maytag, JennAir and Amana brands. WoW Studios blends over 111 years of appliance knowledge with creative excellence to enhance the consumer experience (CX), while unlocking new value for consumers and improving the lives of millions at home.