The Marcus Graham Project: 5 Year-Old Advertising Boot Camp for Minorities Spawns Incubator, Locomotus

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The Marcus Graham Project is transitioning from a summer-time boot camp to a year-round school in 2013. The announcement was made over the weekend at a gala celebrating MGP’s fifth anniversary. The new “advertising incubator” will be called Locomotus and its first location will likely be in Los Angeles. The entity is the outgrowth of the success of the Marcus Graham Project said co-founder Lincoln Stephens. “We’ve proven our concept for the last few years,” he said.

MGP, named for Eddie Murphy’s character in the movie Boomerang, was founded in 2007 in an attempt, according to Mr. Stephens, to address the lack of diversity in the ad industry. Since then, it’s grown in size and scope. “It’s not really so much about diversity as it is about education,” Mr. Stephens said in an interview, noting that the boot camps have been a place for networking, continuing education, portfolio building and even a place to learn what school can’t teach student — old-fashioned office politics, for example.

Part of MGP’s role, he said, is to show participants, “Here’s how the business works.” And if participants, after working with real clients in real agencies, find they don’t like what they’ve seen. “If you can’t work in a company,” added Mr. Stephens, “well, here’s how you go and do you own thing.”

Locotomus will expand upon what MGP has done so far.

“Locomotus takes the best of what portfolio programs and student-run agencies have and moves it to the next level,” said Dan Wieden, co-founder and global executive creative director of Wieden & Kennedy, in a letter of support for the project. Mr. Wieden, a booster of MGP’s efforts so far, didn’t make the gala event but did send along a video congratulating the program.

Read more: AdAge

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