Mekanism brings together a roster of agencies for diversity moonshot | Tech News

In the last century, the Apollo program directed the resources of disparate, sometimes competing government agencies toward a common goal none of them could have envisioned achieving on their own: walking on the moon. As namesakes go, it’s a lofty one.

So it’s fitting that Apollo 51, a new initiative spearheaded by Mekanism, involves more than a dozen other ad agencies, all working to improve diversity and representation in their ranks. Each agency committed to the program pledges that at least 51 percent of the creative interns they hire over the next two years will be from communities that are underrepresented in the industry.

“The perception among young, diverse creatives is that they have to go to ad school to have an avenue into a creative department, and I think the industry definitely perpetuates that,” says Apollo 51 co-creator Tommy Means, founder and chief creative officer at Mekanism. Coming out of college with an average of $100,000 in student loan debt makes taking on another $50,000 to $100,000 for portfolio school a daunting proposition, especially for creatives who may not have family finances to fall back on. “They say, ‘I guess the creative industry is not for me. I’m going to go somewhere else.’”

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