Mortierbrigade, an advertising agency based in Brussels, kindly provides its interns with lodging. But when they first start, they should be prepared to sleep in what looks like a trailer park. After all, the agency’s housing scheme reflects the real world: the harder you work, the quicker you are promoted and the more you earn. But what’s the incentive for interns, who are usually unpaid anyway?
The firm came up with a clever way to foster their international interns’ success while also providing them with a place to live. Foreign students clamor for work experience at the agency and while the job competition is fierce, the housing competition is fiercer. Co-founder and creative director Jens Mortier says there’s a sea of paperwork for foreign interns, and the cost of a short-term apartment lease was prohibitive.
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When the company moved its office last year into an old brewery, the lease came with a house attached. Not wanting it to go disused, they decided to make it into housing for the interns. Dubbed the Mortierbrigade Hotel, the house sports three floors, each with a separate theme and wildly differing standards of living. All interns will start on the rather jarring first floor, with the hope that by the end of the internship, they’re promoted to the luxe life on the third floor. As most internships last between three and six months, Mortier hopes interns will be able to progress to a new level every month or two.
It’s completely free lodging, sure, but built in is the incentive to perform well at the job. “Advertising isn’t a soft-sided world,” Mortier says. “We want to get them used to that.” The hotel’s first trainees – from France and Spain – will be arriving in March.
Click through to see inside each of the unique levels. They’ve even factored in a special floor for delinquents.