McDonald's recent appointment of VCCP to handle its recruitment advertising is the first time the fast-food chain has used a non-specialist ad agency for this task.
The restaurant operator is the latest company to incorporate its recruitment communications into its wider brand- and reputation-building work. FMCG manufacturer Reckitt Benckiser, for example, is launching a global integrated campaign aimed at graduates, which, in a first for the company, is intended to drive awareness among 22- to 32-year-olds.
The McDonald's appointment is the latest step in the chain's transformation, dubbed the 'McMakeover', following the arrival of Steve Easterbrook as UK chief executive in 2006. As well as refurbishing its outlets and overhauling its menus, the company has attempted to reclaim 'McJob', the derisory term coined by Douglas Coupland in his novel Generation X.
Jez Langhorn, head of talent at McDonald's, explains that its fresh approach to recruitment advertising, the details of which have yet to be specified, forms part of a general strategy to build consumer trust in the brand. 'Getting people to reappraise their opinion of working at McDonald's will not happen overnight, and that is why employer reputation advertising is a long-term strategy for the business,' he says. However, Langhorn will not confirm whether the company will continue to use the term 'McJob' in its ads.
Sarah Owens, managing director of specialist recruitment agency Direct Recruitment, argues that by appointing an ad agency, McDonald's has made its intentions clear.
'A recruitment agency would specifically go out, get its client the right people and be accountable - the job ad would be the type of thing you see online or in a newspaper,' she says. 'An ad agency will go about it differently. You will see the ad even if you are not the target market, and it will attempt to make you feel good about McDonald's.'
The burger chain is not struggling to find people - on the contrary, it receives 2500 job applications a day, only 150 of which result in employment. However, Owens believes that communicating the benefits of working for McDonald's will generate additional goodwill toward the brand.
'Talking about NVQs will make consumers stop and think differently about McDonald's, and ultimately change their perceptions,' she adds.
As part of Reckitt Benckiser's campaign, the owner of brands including Cillit Bang and Finish is asking consumers online to come up with suggestions for innovative products. Accompanying ads are designed to reflect the 'dynamic and fast-moving' nature of working for the company.
Unusually, Reckitt Benckiser's campaign is not intended to sell more products, but to drive the company's growth by boosting awareness of its corporate culture and benefits to potential employees.
Similarly, last month Rolls-Royce appointed JWT's recruitment arm, JWT Inside, to an international brief that spans social media strategy and implementation and recruitment campaigns.
Now that social media has made it hard for companies to control what is written about them, recruitment is emerging as a key channel to protect or enhance their reputations.
This article was first published on marketingmagazine.co.uk