4 creative recruitment campaigns from brands 

Attracting and retaining talent may be one of the biggest challenges facing the ad industry in 2023, but it is at least one that agencies are uniquely equipped to tackle

Retaining and recruiting talent will be the ad industry’s second biggest challenge – after budget cuts – in 2023, according to our survey of senior executives.

It’s not just a marketing-industry problem, either. In a survey of companies from eight countries by ManpowerGroup in January, 75% of respondents reported talent shortages, with ‘profound implications for the retention and upskilling of workers.’

But it is a challenge that creative agencies are uniquely equipped to solve. Recruitment is just another form of advertising, after all.

So we’ve scoured our Contagious IQ platform to find some of the smartest and most innovative recruitment campaigns from around the world, to give you an idea of how it should be done.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP), working with Host/Havas, Sydney, and in partnership with Casefile, Australia’s most popular true crime podcaster, created the Crime Interrupted podcast to encourage more diverse and diversely skilled candidates to view the police as a progressive career choice.

Each hour-long episode (dropped once a week) unpacked a notorious criminal investigation and described the skills that were required to crack the case, priming potential recruits in an informative and entertaining way. In the wake of the Crime Interrupted podcast, applications to the AFP from women increased 40% and visits to the AFP’s recruitment website increased by 114%. With more than 400,000 listeners, it also broke the top 10 in New Zealand and UK podcast charts.

To tempt mechanics away from competitors, Volkswagen Group, working with DDB Paris, embossed secret messages onto faulty car parts, and then sent the vehicles to be serviced at rival businesses.

When the mechanics found the faulty air filters or headlights or whatever, they also found a QR code inviting them to apply to work at Volkswagen Group.

As part of the campaign, the brand also published a series of videos on TikTok and Snapchat targeting 18- to 25-year-olds looking for new employment.  The originality of the campaign makes the message stand out and Volkswagen managed to escape the cluttered job market space by finding a unique way to reach candidates. Volkswagen Group reported more than 113,000 visits to its careers website and said it received 53,705 new CVs in the wake of the campaign.

Heineken took the crisis in hospitality recruitment into its own hands by promising that bar experience would boost applicants’ chances of securing a job at the multinational brewer.

The campaign, created by Publicis Groupe’s Le Pub, promotes bars as places to learn foundational skills, such as team management, problem solving and communication skills.

Bars that participated in the initiative issued their recruits with Heineken Bar Experience certificates, which could also be added to their LinkedIn profiles, to support the candidate’s potential future application to the Heineken Company. ​​​​​​​

A&W sought to attract new recruits by casting its existing employees as celebrity endorsers.

The fast-food chain created ads with its own workers that parodied McDonald’s Famous Orders campaign.

In the ads, the A&W staff posed with their Anti-Celebrity Meals in the same way that superstar endorsers J Balvin, Saweetie and Travis Scott had done for McDonald’s.

A&W sent a hiring package to all of its 625 restaurants, to encourage them to make and market their own bespoke Anti-Celebrity Meals.

By jumping onto a bigger QSR’s celebrity partnership, the smaller restaurant chain found a clever way to cut through the noise in a competitive sector. And it shows that using employees to depict a happy and fulfilled work environment can be an effective marketing tool to help promote the intrinsic values of your business.

This article was downloaded from the Contagious intelligence platform. If you are not yet a member and would like access to 11,000+ campaigns, trends and interviews, email [email protected] or visit contagious.com to learn more.