DWP ‘JobHelp’: Making very hard work of employment

dwpAre you one of the millions who have been left on the shelf? Have your job opportunities, like so many others, simply dried up? Well, if this was the 1980s, you would have had Norman “Chingford Skinhead” Tebbit barking at you to get on your bike and go and find work.

But, would you believe, these are more caring times (honest) so the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) has this week launched a major new multichannel marketing campaign to encourage jobseekers to access support through its ‘JobHelp’ website.

As the labour market supposedly recovers from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK, DWP has partnered with M&C Saatchi to develop a campaign helping jobseekers, those on furlough and the so-called “worried working” to see their strengths differently, and encourage them to discover support, training and advice on finding their next opportunity.

Based on the insight that many jobseekers feel lost in the current labour market, but are keen to put their strengths to work, “Somewhere out there” encourages people to find what they are looking for from work rather than focusing solely on gaining employment.

The line “We’ll help you find it” positions JobHelp as the tool that can help you find whatever “it” is for you – whether that’s support, training or a new role.

It centres on what the official blurb calls “the simple pleasures we gain from work”, which apparently include “a new mate or a payday treat, [which] fulfil lots of emotional needs, so helping people find work is also helping them find self-esteem, comradery, financial security and pride”. If you say so.

According to M&C executive creative director Matt Lee, the ad “celebrates the little things about work we’ve missed: the gossip, the laughs, the mates. The Post-It notes on food to ward off thieves. Annoying office chairs, lunchtime rituals and all the idiosyncrasies of the 9-to-5”.

The campaign launches with a 30-second TV spot directed by Vince Squibb at Academy Films, supported by cinema, radio, digital and social activity. Working with M&C Saatchi M&KE, the DWP has also given overhauled the JobHelp digital platform, from mapping user personas and customer journeys through to design and build.

Ultimately, the campaign is designed to reflect the Government’s broader ambition to help the country Build Back Better.

DWP head of campaigns and marketing Jenni Smith said: “We want jobseekers to know that there is government support available online as they look for work. The labour market effects of the pandemic have been tough for some people but this campaign is designed to motivate and enable those who could use a boost to find their next opportunity.

“JobHelp aims to give them the confidence they need to step out into the newly reshaped labour market and smash it, even if it’s in a job they never knew was out there.”

So, what is the consensus around the Decision Marketing office?

Well, anyone who has been out of work for any length of time, certainly won’t be missing “the Post-It notes on food to ward off thieves. Annoying office chairs, lunchtime rituals and all the idiosyncrasies of the 9-to-5”, so quite why they are celebrating that is anyone’s guess.

In fact, the whole ad seems designed to show you how tedious work can be rather than how empowering. After all, it actually features someone asleep in bed with the voiceover stating: “Somewhere out there… there’s a Saturday off”. Very generous. And, in another scene, an exasperated woman is shown walking through her front door saying: “Oh what a day!”

Now, we do get where they were coming from but it didn’t really explain how the JobHelp website could help; in fact, it didn’t show anything about it.

Call us old fashioned, but if you are going to advertise something, isn’t it best to show how it works?

Decision Marketing Adometer: A “this isn’t working for us” 6 out of 10

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