McDonald’s focuses on teen friendship in its latest recruitment effort

Who: McDonald’s Canada, Cossette, OMD (media), Circle Films (production), Berkeley Inc. (sound).

What: Friends Wanted,” a new staffing campaign targeting teenagers. It’s part of ongoing efforts by the QSR to demonstrate that it is a “modern and progressive” employer, including last month’s “Snapplications,” which let people apply for a job via Snapchat.

When & Where: Much of the activity is on YouTube, where McDonald’s is running a series of videos. It also plans an updated hiring toolkit featuring digital and print ads, tray liners and crew stickers. There is also an online application form inviting potential staff to apply with a friend.

Why: In a crowded youth employment market, McDonald’s wants to drive applications and boost the company’s reputation as being a “fun, accessible place to work.”

What’s the subtext?: Fast food restaurants are struggling to find the teenage workers that once comprised a significant portion of their workforce. According to Statistics Canada, the number of 15- to 24-year-olds employed or seeking employment in the labour force declined from 67.3% in 2008, to 64.2% in 2014. The report also noted a “particularly pronounced” drop among youth 15-19—which fell 6.1% to 46.4%. It mirrors a trend that occurred in the aftermath of the 1990-92 recession.

How: The campaign suggests that working at McDonald’s is better when it’s alongside a friend. The video series follows two friends who work together at McDonald’s. They handle odd customer requests and change their name tags to Mick Chiggen and Chris P. Nugget (get it?). The campaign basically portrays working at McDonald’s as an extension of their social life.

And we quote: “One of the key benefits of working at a McDonald’s restaurant is the camaraderie among crew members. With this campaign, we are celebrating the spirit of friendship while continuing to build on and express our ongoing belief in Canadian youth.” —Antoinette Benoit, chief marketing officer, McDonald’s Canada.

Chris Powell