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  • Writer's pictureMichael Wright


Recruitment advertising doesn’t have a technology problem; it has an imagination problem. What we have is a scenario where job postings haven’t evolved much beyond help-wanted ads in the classified columns of newspapers.

Recruiting ads are usually 2D, static blocks of text which are dull and focus on the requirements of the employer, first and foremost, rather than the reader. In 2018 it would be nice to see more employers embrace the visual web and produce high quality rich media, which demonstrates more awareness of the needs of the audience. What that means is creating content that should be informative, authentic, even entertaining — and arouses curiosity to discover more about the company competing for talent.

Back in 2012–14 my recruiting team faced the challenge of hiring literally hundreds of digital talents in China, with skills in social media planning, search engine marketing (SEM) and optimization (SEO). This is one thing that we did which really worked out. It took a lot of thought and effort, a lot of teamwork and planning, but not a lot of upfront capital (total cost including promotion was under USD $60,000)

image of a PR cutting

Here’s what we did. We leveraged the wisdom of our ’30 under 30' team in the local market and they suggested we create a reality show, 24-Hour Pitch, to showcase what media agency life is really like — with all the tension, laughter and tears that goes with it. With China’s ad staff turnover notoriously high, the show aimed to get Chinese graduates excited about a career at GroupM and help the company attract young, talented workers. Our aim was to reach out to young people under 30 years old who may have an interest in the communications industry but know little, and to provide them an insider look into how a media agency works.

The eight-episode show kicked off with a promotional trailer and we released two episodes per week, every Wednesday on (群邑学徒). The program was also promoted on Youku, Renren, Douban, Sohu TV, Tudou, iQiyi and PPTV, LeTV and Sina Weibo.

Through ‘GroupM Young Power — 24-Hour Pitch’, we raised the interest level and attracted more young people to our industry, to keep the industry creative, young and vibrant.

GroupM’s 2012 “The Apprentice”-style micro-series resulted in 5 times the amount of corporate web traffic, 1m+ views of the video, and more than 15,000 potential hires sent in their contact numbers. With the sustained boom of reality TV and all things visual, it’s pretty obvious to see not only the impact but the benefits of ensuring your recruitment advertisement is evolving.

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