The Candidate

Insight

Sometimes it pays to step out of your comfort zone; even if that means trying to resuscitate your potential boss that you’ve only just met.

As part of its ‘Open your World’ brand strategy, Heineken wanted to show itself as the company full of possibilities it was. It also wanted to attract great new applicants who were open-minded and resourceful by trying to bring about the characteristics of someone with these requirements, someone who in short, would try to bring you back to life at a moment’s short notice.

In order to achieve this, Heineken showcased its global graduate programme, zoning in on one job opening in particular.

Ahead of the Champions League final last month, Heineken decided to hire one lucky intern to join its Event and Sponsorship Marketing team. His task would be to accompany the Champions League trophy as it toured the world before arriving at Wembley Stadium. To fill this once-in-a-lifetime position, Heineken ditched its usual recruitment rule book and invited 25 of the 1,734 applicants to their Amsterdam HQ for an unorthodox interview. This would test whether they really had the chops to join Heineken’s team- they were going to be tested on how they would react if their potential new boss held their hand, collapsed behind the desk or when they had to help rescue a standard employee from the roof.

Heineken secretly filmed the applicants’ hilarious reactions and released 'The Candidate', a behind-the-scenes, three-minute viral video featuring three unsuspecting hopefuls that made for reality-show gold.

Strategy

Like many companies, Heineken was having trouble finding the right candidates to hire. How do you really know whether someone is genuinely resourceful, open minded and has the right attitude when they just answer the same tired, old interview questions?

Heineken wanted to attract male and female job seekers between the ages of 18 and 22, who were open, progressive and responded well to humour. It also wanted to appeal to its ‘Man of the World’ target customers- men who are open-minded, active, adventurous and resourceful.

So Heineken came up with ‘The Candidate’. In this campaign, Heineken chucked out its old recruitment manual and asked applicants to cope with the unexpected. The secret videos demonstrated how young candidates would handle being in the hot seat, or in one instance, out of their seat and on the street, trying to save a worker threatening to jump off a roof.

These videos were shared with Heineken’s marketing team, who voted for their favourite interviewee out of the top three. The whole thing was made into a fly-on-the wall viral video; so that Heineken’s entertaining new recruitment technique could be shared with millions around the world.

Execution

Heineken had a very limited media budget, so its videos had to be a viral hit. Heineken used a global video seeding partner to create a custom video unit to showcase The Candidate. This included every possible sharing option under the sun, to maximise the viral spread. Users could also use it to check out Heineken’s campaign pages and find out how to apply for a job there.

Heineken’s partner seeded the video on its global network of sites that were relevant to Heineken’s ‘Men of the World’, particularly those with football content or other funny videos.

With some help from its PR friends, Heineken’s video spread among social media influencers in the media. Mashable editor Pete Cashmore broke the story the day it launched. Soon after, the general media picked up the story and in days the video went viral.

At the campaign’s peak, Heineken also launched a Social CV Facebook App, encouraging other candidates to submit their CV to Heineken. The Social CV connected all a candidate’s social profiles to generate one CV and allowed Heineken to discover people’s skills in places where they were really themselves.

Results

Standing in the middle of the pitch in front of a massive crowd, during a Champion’s League match at Juventus stadium, Guy Luchting found out that he had been given the job.

Heineken’s video created more of a buzz than it had ever anticipated. It achieved 800,000 hits in just the first three days. By the end of the campaign close to 5 million people had watched it on YouTube.

All in all,The Candidatewas the second most buzzed ad during the campaign. However, they didn’t just have a viral impact. Heineken’s campaign had a permanent impact on the company and beefed up its image as a progressive place to work.

Existing Heineken employees loved it and potential employees took a fresh look at the company- traffic on its HR sites went up 279% and the volume of CVs Heineken received shot up 317%.

Heineken’s campaign was such a hit that Heineken changed its hiring philosophy worldwide and made the social CV a permanent part of its recruitment process.  

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