South China Morning Post gives its free recruiting publication an emotional makeover

by Anne Wong        

“JiuJik friends” campaign brand, timed with its distribution move from subway to above-ground points, increased registered online members by 35% and print circulation by 10%.

Click the image to view a larger versionWe all know that looking for a job is often a deeply emotional time. Usually it springs out of an emotional reaction at work, such as “My boss drives me crazy,” or “I can be more than an underling,” or, quite simply, “I need a job that pays me enough to get a new Prada handbag.”
Yet, how many recruitment ads play to emotional need and satisfaction?
In truth, a recruitment brand has to be loaded with as much emotional reassurance and nuance as any FMCG (fast-moving consumer good) brand. You’re making one of the most important decisions of your life, so you want to know that the source guiding you to your next job is going to be relevant, reliable, and supportive.
With that in mind, we created a campaign last year for our longstanding mass-market recruitment brand JiuJik, a free recruitment newspaper and site that targets entry level, retail, and lower-middle management positions.
We were faced with a very practical challenge — our established distribution point was going to change. We were exiting the mass transit subway distribution points that had been very successful and going “above ground” to convenience stores and ad hoc street distribution points. The new distribution method would mean potentially a broader market, but also one that was precariously unfamiliar, not as captive, and inevitably more crowded with other distractions.
Our aim was to conquer this alien territory by creating a very powerful, compelling brand personality that had been sorely lacking in the years the brand lived underground. This would in turn create brand preference and customer affinity, as well as help turn a somewhat functional product into a brand our targets cared about and found relevant.
We started with some simple research, which told us that the target demographic of younger, lower- to mid-level job hunters have a “live for the day” mentality. They’re usually single, are heavy Internet and social media users, aspire to owning high-tech gadgets, watch local sitcoms, are peer-influenced, and spend a lot of time hanging out with friends. Sound like a demographic in your country, too?
With these insights, we created a campaign revolving around four “JiuJik friends,” each with a distinct look and personality. The savviest member of the group is Jill, a pretty woman in her late 20s late with some career success as a known fashion brand retail assistant. She has a handsome and quite well-funded boyfriend, Jack, who isn’t as bright as she is, and two other friends who provide the “cute” and “comical” flavours of the friendship circle.
We produced three cheesy sitcom-style videos, which saw the JiuJik friends taking off for a barbecue in the country parks of Hong Kong (yes, it’s beautiful out there, you should visit some time). The long and short of it is, Jill gets a job with a designer retailer by reading JiuJik and is admired by her friends. Thus when she speaks, she has more clout, as evidenced by the fact that she uses just the power of her voice to save the day in three situations. There’s comedy, action, and romance in these 90-second mini videos, created as a mini-series that compelled viewers to find out what happened next.
You can still view the video series (part one, part two, part three).
The videos were housed in a micro-site and on, shared through Facebook, and promoted through e-banners on local sites and MSN Messenger. These efforts were coupled with a direct registration promotion to invite users to participate in a game to win Starbucks vouchers, iPads, and other goodies. On the micro-site, you could enter the promotion to win and also find out more about each of the JiuJik friends through their profile bio page.
The outcome of this campaign, which cost less than US$150,000 to put together, was impressive:
  • We achieved 15 million pageviews across our micro-site and video links -- 77 million impressions overall.
  • We acquired 10,000 new registered members at, a 35% year-on-year increase.
  • We achieved a 33% higher click-through rate than the industry average.
  • Most importantly, we increased our JiuJik printed circulation through the new distribution points by 10% from the previous subway levels.

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