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Day in the life of an Ogilvy intern

Updated: Oct 5, 2020

Rozanne van der Merwe: MD Ogilvy Namibia

Most probably one of my all-time favorite #DavidOgilvy quotes refers to how the agency should be seen as brand doctors in perspective. He writes, “Great hospitals do two things. They look after patients, and they teach young doctors. We look after clients, and we teach young advertising people”. That is what we were set out to do, as ‘Team Red’.

We take-in students on a yearly basis, & Looking back in retrospect that’s how my story started with the agency. Castle Brewing (now AB InBev Namibia) was & still is one of the agency’s beloved clients. A first-year marketing student at Cape Peninsula University of Technology, ‘mom’ as my client, I was fortunate enough to spend 2 weeks in the ‘red house’, that summer of 2004.

At Ogilvy, we treat our interns as potential employees, making sure we provide them with the right ‘industry tools’ and on the go training before they can make the cut. Our records show that at least 50% of our current staff started as interns, here in the ‘red house’. It is thus important that the interns get familiar with the Ogilvy philosophy of the Big IdeaL that is the framework of the brand’s conception of perfection, an expression of it’s a higher purpose. It is upon the understanding of such philosophies and an ideal ‘cultural fit’ between them and our agency among many other criteria, that we will consider them for fulltime employment.

Here are a few tips in applying to join Team Red

  1. Ensure your CV/ portfolio is updated and on point. Don’t include work older than 2 years, unless it’s brilliant.

  2. Endorse your application with a good cover letter. You don’t need to be a copywriter to write a decent cover letter. We are in the business of selling, so this is the first point of contact with your potential employer.

  3. Be confident & show knowledge in branding and about our international affiliation during the interview

At Ogilvy, we believe in a cultural fit. As cliché as it might sound, advertising is not for everyone so we sniff them out a mile away.

Last week we checked in with two of our recent interns, Vérane Di Meglio, and Malan Marais and this is what they had to say about Ogilvy / internship life.


Vérane Di Meglio


Why Ogilvy?

I chose Ogilvy for my #internship because it forms part of the WPP group. As an international student, I wasn’t so sure where I would end up in the future, so I started looking for an internationally recognized agency based in Namibia (home) and that’s how I found Ogilvy Namibia. Ogilvy gave me the experience of working with international clients but in a more relaxed environment; suitable for students.

Best memory during the internship?

What I most enjoyed was getting to have a mentor figure such as Vera to guide me through this learning experience. She introduced me and taught me the ropes in working in an agency which has helped me to build a strong foundation to continue my career.

Best lesson learned during the internship?

The biggest lesson that I learned was to cater my artwork according to CI; providing me with more creative discipline.

Malan Marais

Third-year BA Digital Design student:

Cape Town

Why Ogilvy?

One of the first advertising agencies I’ve heard of, good reputation, and I’ve been there once before for a day for job shadowing.

Best memory during the internship?

Being part of a client meeting and spending time with the team, storyboarding and just the experience of being at an agency.

Best lesson learned during the internship?

To work at a faster pace, paying attention to detail, but more especially sticking to a CI and do not hesitate too much.


Check out Tom Gerencer’s article on “How to Get an Internship” which is very helpful to prepare you for the business world:

Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire, and very soon, you will find your tribe and live your best life.

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