For the second year in a row, the Dublin-based agency Rothco has won an award at the Cannes Lions Festival. This time around that Rothco scooped a silver Lions for its work with the Irish Defence Forces campaign which was aimed at recruiting more women to join the army.
Rothco launched the winning campaign in April 2016 in response to a White Paper on Defence published by the Irish Government last year, with a directive to double the percentage of serving female members to 12%.
In 2015, only 25% of the mere 350 female applicants turned up for the first day of training.
Through research, Rothco discovered that the Defence Forces was not, contrary to what was initially thought, an unviable option for the majority of Irish women. They weren’t ruling it out (owing to societal perceptions of women in the Military) – it simply wasn’t on their radar to begin with.
The small minority – who were aware of the Defence Forces as a career path – ruled themselves out because they didn’t think they’d be the right fit – not physically, mentally, or emotionally tough enough.
Through an efficient, sniper-style strategy of targeting qualified leads, Rothco set out to find those most likely to fit and succeed from the pool of 1.8 million of Irish women. These were candidates who matched the characteristics that the Defence Forces look for in recruits: physical and moral courage, integrity, selflessness, respect, and loyalty.
Drilling down from 1.8 million women using filters of activity levels, ambition, and competitiveness, Rothco found 11,700 women who were short on career options, yet who knew how to follow orders, understood team dynamics, and who weren’t afraid of physical challenge: Women who played contact team sports.
“We narrowed down on our target on Facebook – our key channel. This was bolstered by GAA clubs sharing on their social pages, with cinema advertising for general awareness and homepage takeovers on key sites for our target such as Her.ie.” Comments Chief Strategy Officer, Emer Howard, “In just three weeks annual applications by young females increased by 65%.”
Hyper-targeting the sportswomen through Facebook, Rothco’s bespoke, data-inspired content highlighted to them that they can get paid for what they’re good at – that there’s a job they’ve been training for all their lives… they just didn’t know it.
Managing Director at Rothco, Richard Carr comments: “We’re so delighted for Defence Forces Ireland to have exceeded the amount of qualified female applicants needed, as a result of this campaign. It’s been fantastic to have had such a positive effect on Irish recruitment and have our work recognised for a second consecutive year at a global festival as prestigious as Cannes.”