Creative ideas by agencies for hiring and employer branding

Three different agencies use three different creative ideas towards hiring and employer branding.

1. One Twenty Three West (Canada)

If you are an agency and need to hire animators, UI/UX designers, art directors, copywriters, strategists, producers, and account supervisors, how would you go about it?

The usual routes include updating these openings on LinkedIn, and other job portals. Telling people in the agency ecosystem in your country so that word-of-mouth builds visibility for the openings. If you can afford it, ads in print media.

How about letting completely random people on the internet do the marketing for you about the open roles?

The Canadian agency, One Twenty Three West, does this especially well! What did they do?

They create a fictitious position called, “One Twenty Three West Booster”. The only job of the ‘Booster’ is to boost the morale of other employees on video calls because everyone is working remotely from their homes, is alone, and feels alone. The Booster realizes that while everyone’s job on the call is the get the client’s work done seriously, his/her job is to boost the morale of everyone else and make them feel liked, loved, and recognized!

It’s a smart and clever idea that makes you believe/feel that a position like this could perhaps actually exist, at least a side-responsibility of someone with a different designation given how alone video calls make us feel – all we see is stamp-sized versions of out colleagues while there’s no one near us, in real life! And the stunt creates a highly shareable piece of content that is funny/interesting for most people but also specifically talks about the openings at the agency, like a Trojan Horse.

2. Uproar PR (USA)

The same questions apply, like the earlier example. Uproar PR wants to hire account directors. What are their usual avenues? Online ads, online job portal entries, LinkedIn, word-of-mouth, etc.

What do they also do, differently? Remember the many online platforms where people can hire a celebrity to offer them a personalized message for a fee? There are tons even in India.

Uproar used Cameo, the US-based platform, to hire Mark McGrath, the lead vocalist of the rock band Sugar Ray, to say a few words about the opening! Why Mark? According to the agency, he fits the bill from the kind of people they are targeting – I have no idea about the band or its target audience, so I’d just take their word at face value. I also thought Mark was meandering a lot and not making a focused attempt at pitching the job.

If I were to consider an Indian equivalent, I’d probably think of an Indian PR agency roping in say, an actor like Madhavan or a musician like Vishal Dadlani to create a personalized message about the opening. Or perhaps famous TV actors in multiple Indian states? Just thinking aloud.

The idea, in itself, is very clever. It makes use of the celebrity personalized video’s value proposition in a new way – I wouldn’t be surprised if Uproar PR also has Cameo as a client.

In doing so, the idea also says something about the agency’s creative thinking too.

3. DDB FTW Worldwide (Prague)

DDB’s new division was launched in November 2020 and it bills itself as an ad agency for the esports and gaming industries.

How does one ‘launch’ a new agency and make it interesting for attracting talent? Do a lot of PR, perhaps advertise, get its employees to speak/participate in global industry events, and so on.

DDB FTW did something quite different and interesting. It ‘hired‘ a cartoon character as its creative director!

DDB FTW recently announced that they have hired Jerry Smith, father of Morty Smith of Rick and Morty fame! There is some context too – Jerry’s character in the show is that of a low-level ad agency employee who gets fired for incompetence! And here he is, as a creative director at DDB FTW!

Obviously, the agency is officially working with the show’s producers to execute this stunt, and they prepped Jerry’s profile on LinkedIn adequately with references to the show. LinkedIn usually deletes profiles made for fictitious personalities (unlike Twitter), but they seem to be ok if the concerned brand works officially with LinkedIn as a marketing idea. For instance, the makers of the film Taken 3 worked with LinkedIn to create a fake professional profile for Liam Neeson’s character, security consultant Bryan Mills.

DDB FTW’s Jerry Smith has become quite popular already – he has 5,000+ followers while the agency too seems to have gained from the stunt… it has 1,000 followers.

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