Background & Strategy
A by-product of the economic downturn is retrenchment. And as such, matured workers tend to be more vulnerable to retrenchments than their younger counterparts. In addition, these older matured workers also find it hard to be re-employed, especially due to the fact that:
• Employers feel that their skill set and experience belong to the ‘old economy’ and therefore irrelevant today
• Matured workers tend to resist change and/or do things differently – as such they are difficult to train
• Matured workers are less productive and more expensive to hire than their younger counterparts
To address these issues, one of the programmes Ministry of Manpower has put in place is the ‘People for Jobs Traineeship’ programme. This scheme provides employers with subsidies of up to S$2000 for a period of 6 months for hiring and re-training matured workers. As such, this scheme makes it easier and encourages employers to hire and re-train older workers if necessary. The team at DYR Wunderman believed that once the employers did so, they would realise that the perceptions they had about the older workers were more often than not, misplaced.
Given this background, the objective for the communication effort was to encourage employers to hire older workers in the long term by changing their mindset about ‘older workers’ both fundamentally and permanently.
The agency put the creative team Copywriter Ang Kah Han and Art Director Low Eng Hong, under Executive Creative Director Patrick Low.
The campaign drives the message home by dramatising, albeit in an unusual manner, the positive attributes of older workers. In each of the ads, the agency attempted to address one of the most common reasons employers give for ‘not’ hiring older workers. They tackled these ‘perceptions’ with ‘real hard facts’ to once and for all, lay to rest these misconceptions surrounding older workers.
The argument works by:
• Demonstrating clearly to employers that experience comes with age
• Communicating the fact that many great milestones were accomplished by people in their golden years – this statement is once again supported with evidence/examples
• Proving to them that years of honing one’s skill leads to perfection
• Sharing some examples to convince employers that ‘ability to acquire new skills is not hindered by age’.
Furthermore, each of these messages will be augmented by information on the ‘People For Jobs Training’ scheme and subsidies the Ministry of Manpower has put in place to help facilitate the hiring of older workers by potential employers.
There are a total of 4 print ads, developed in 2 languages each.
The campaign period was one month – It started on 3rd March 2003 through till end March 2003. The ads appeared in dailies such as The Straits Times, Zao Bao and Business Times.
The campaign was impactful in that immediately after the first advertisement, there were 20 odd companies calling to find out about the programme. Additionally, the sign up rate for the programmes rose from 166 in February to 233 in March, 499 in April and subsequently 693 in May 2003 respectively. This amounts to an unprecedented 4x increase in actual sign-ups for the scheme.