Available Inc: the fake studio for unemployed creatives that could become a real thing
Set up by creative duo William Grave and Sander Vos to stand out from the “available for work” crowd on LinkedIn, the tongue-in-cheek company advertising for pretend jobs has – at the very least – provided some camaraderie during a tumultuous time.
- Jenny Brewer
- 1 September 2020
- Reading Time
- 3 minute read
After “a few months in the freelance wilderness,” William Grave and his creative partner Sander Vos decided that adding yet another LinkedIn ‘Available for Work’ post to the pile just wasn’t going to cut it. Instead, the duo set up as a company called Available Inc. and joked (somewhat morbidly) that it had, in the last six months, become “the fastest growing creative workforce in the world with satellite offices across the globe” – referring to the expanding legions of people, like them, out of work in the creative industry.
“What’s our secret,” it asked, simultaneously poking fun at tropes of the industry and themselves in its bio. “Well, we’re a people-first organisation. Our workers enjoy flexible working hours, nine-hour lunch breaks and unlimited holiday. And that's right, we just ripped up the manual and got rid of time-sheets. We have designed a radical industry-first model for clients looking for solutions to their comms problems: No retainer fees. No project by project fees. In fact, zero fees. If you're looking for something different, let's grab a coffee sometime. And not get down to business.”
“LinkedIn is inundated with thousands of ‘I’m available messages that seem to fall on deaf ears, so the brief was, how do we say this differently?” Grave tells It’s Nice That. Once the logo was designed and the LinkedIn page was built, the creatives built their imagined company by adding seminars on bubble-wrap bursting and cloud-watching (the sky kind); but according to Grave the “fun really began” when it started advertising for jobs – specifically a chief creative officer.
“We have 78 candidates,” he tells us, “59 applications in the first 24 hours, including a Cannes Lions winner with over 60 awards to his name, and a Bafta-nominated director”. To be clear, the role asked for its applicants to “be one step ahead of the curve by being remote but without actually doing any work” and according to Grave, the applications have shown the prank’s resonance, with candidates matching their humour and showing appreciation for the satire. One example reads: “You made my day (in a dark humoured sort of way”.
Beside the jokes, the posting also linked to Sander & Will's real website, and listed its real expertise in concept development, art direction and copywriting, acting as an advert for these skills, but mostly the pair's sense of humour. And luckily, a lot of people found it funny. Since launch, the page has been shared widely, leading to Grave’s profile having a 2,750 per cent rise in views in a week, and a recruiter putting the creative team forward for a role at Ogilvy. So could the hoax become reality?
“I think we'll see where the road takes us, but we are tempted to actually put on these online seminars because, let's be honest, has anyone truly nailed the art of bubble wrap bursting yet?” Grave adds. “But, if there is enough of an appetite, perhaps some talented people within the industry might just be tempted to band together and turn this fake agency into a real one.”