Career development association uses billboard timestamps to attract attention

Who: Nova Scotia Career Development Association, with Wunder for strategy, creative and media.

What: “Timestamps,” a recruitment campaign aimed at younger Nova Scotians. It’s Wunder’s first major marketing outreach for the 800-member organization, which has a stated goal to strengthen the role of the career development profession.

When & Where: The campaign is in market now, running through November with a major out-of-home buy using two of the country’s leading out-of-home advertising companies: Pattison Outdoor and Outfront Media.

Why: Wunder creative director Stephen Flynn said the goal is to get younger Nova Scotians to consider a career as a career development professional, in an attempt to potentially change the makeup of its workforce. Currently, 82% of the province’s career development professionals are female, and they tend to be older (40-55).

“They wanted to bring clarity to what it means to be a career development profession, and drive people to their career centres to learn more about the opportunity,” said Flynn.

How: The campaign is built around a series of billboards and TSAs in and around Halifax—more than 20 in total—all featuring messages specifically designed to attract the attention of younger people accustomed to binge-watching their favourite shows.

Each billboard or TSA features a messages like “If your current job has you feeling like” or “If your health insurance is like:” accompanied by a timestamp directing consumers to a specific moment in an episode of a TV show. Timestamps frequently makes their way into yearbook quotes and comment sections on social, making them a perfect mechanism to capture the attention of younger people, said Flynn.

Going to the timestamp referencing the first episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, for example, viewers see a clip of Andy Samberg’s character Jake Peralta saying “This job is eating me alive. I can’t breathe anymore.”

Visiting the timestamp on a billboard referencing season three, episode six of the sitcom Superstore takes viewers to a scene in which one of the characters is lamenting the fact that company’s health insurance policy has a $4,000 deductible. (See a video of how the campaign works below).

“We’re banking on people having a really hard time not scratching that itch and wondering what the payoff is,” said Flynn.

A miss for AI:  Wunder originally tasked AI with finding relevant timestamps, but the approach met with little success. “AI has somehow built its own knowledge of TV shows, but it was just making up timestamps,” he said.

Ultimately, Wunder’s employees were tasked with watching TV shows and scouring fan sites to find quotes that would work with the approach. “It was a labour-intensive process, but super satisfying when we got a good one,” said Flynn.


Chris Powell