Winner Stories October 3, 2019

Q&A: How The Portfolio Apartment Landed Two Students an International Internship

Ahead of the Cannes Lions Festival 2018, advertising students Alexander Kofoed and Christian Skjøtt created an Airbnb listing to attract the attention of international creative directors—there was just one catch.
alexander and christian webby portrait studio
Alexander Keblow Kofoed and Christian Skjøtt at the 23rd Annual Webby Awards.

Finding a cheap Airbnb during the Cannes Lions Festival, located near the Palais, is like finding the holy grail itself—especially for creative directors flying in from around the world.

Danish School of Media & Journalism students Alexander Keblow Kofoed and Christian Skjøtt knew this. So, they set out to attract the attention of creative directors and secure an international internship with The Portfolio Apartment. The clever stunt uses a fake Airbnb listing in Cannes, France, to showcase their work—which landed the project the Webby in the inaugural Student category.

We spoke with Alexander and Christian about the project, the most challenging moments, and their advice for aspiring creatives.

Read our Q&A below, and enter your work before the extended deadline: Friday, Feb. 7th.

Attending the show was really cool because we usually only do advertising contests. Since The Webbys celebrates the best of the Internet, it gathers a much more diverse crowd.”
— Alexander Keblow Kofoed

How did you come up with the idea for The Portfolio Apartment?

We were already attending Cannes Lions as part of our education program, so it made sense to come up with something to get in contact with creative directors to get our dream internship outside of Denmark. We thought we wanted to try to solve a problem and the most convenient was accommodation, because everyone needs a place to stay during the festival.

Initially the idea was to rent out an apartment, decorate it with our work and then rent it out to a creative director for free. The problem with this is that we would essentially be paying them to look at our work, and it would only be featured to one person. So naturally, making a fake listing and using the Airbnb platform to feature our work in the pictures of the listing made so much more sense. – Christian Skjøtt

The goal of your project was to secure an internship abroad. How did you ensure it was being seen by the right people?

We put the fake apartment up during the Cannes Lions days, during which thousands of creatives would be looking for a place to stay on Airbnb. To make it more tempting, we placed it right in front of the Palais, where the award show goes down, at a really low price. There really was no excuse to not look at it. – Alexander Keblow Kofoed

Talk about a lesson you took away while and executing this project that you want to share with other students and aspiring creatives.

This project actually got us our internship abroad — so I would say, if you’re a creative who wants to get attention then figure out a creative way to get it. It is extra work to do a self promo like this, but in our experience it was worth it. -Kofoed

Find the right mechanism in your ideas to reel people in, and make it relevant to a certain group of people — in this case, creative directors. Don’t overestimate people’s interest. -Skjøtt

What is one digital project or account that has inspired you recently? What emerging technology do you see having the biggest impact on your future work?

Digital Project: Definitely adDRESS THE FUTURE by Virtue Nordic. Brilliant and simple idea. Emerging Technology: Artificial intelligence in all forms. -Skjøtt

Recently, I saw a music video by Young Thug for the track “Wyclef Jean,” and I thought, “fuck yeah.” It’s a brilliant way to save a sinking ship. As for emerging technologies, I’d say VR—it’s crazy what you can do with it, and there is a lot of potential as it advances. Also, I somehow always end up thinking about what holograms can be used for. -Kofoed

The Portfolio Apartment won the Webby in the inaugural Student category for Advertising, Media & PR. Congratulations! What did this win and attending the show mean for you?

It meant I got to chat with Neil Degrasse Tyson, stand next to Rami Malek (he stayed at our hotel), see Michael Douglas, and later namedrop this in an article.  All in all, I met people that I wouldn’t have had the chance to meet otherwise. Attending the show was really cool because we usually only do advertising contests. Since The Webbys celebrates the best of the Internet, it gathers a much more diverse crowd.  – Kofoed 

We had a talk with the ECD of Virtue Nordic right before the award show, and they had won too. So, it was the perfect conversation starter—“hey, we’ll see you in New York next week at The Webbys”. -Skjøtt

"Reality Check" by Webby Winner Alexander Keblow Kofoed

What are you working on next?

We’ve been working freelance in Copenhagen, but now it’s time to find something steady. -Skjøtt

Currently, I’m spending a lot of my time advertising my board game “Reality Check” that was released in Denmark this month—I made it with a classmate. Check it out on Facebook or Instagram I’d love to release it in the U.S., but it incorporates a taser, and I’m not sure if we would just get into a crazy lawsuit. Otherwise we’re actually just looking for freelance jobs (or a job).  – Kofoed 


26th Annual Webby Awards


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