Organizations often use Super Bowl ads to promote their brand or push their product but one company took a slightly different approach this year – one many HR professionals may approve of.
Major building supplier 84 Lumber secured a 30-second slot during one of the world’s most-watched events in order to attract potential new employees.
Thom Kuntz, director of merchandising at the firm, said the bold move came after years of “just trying to survive” in the wake of the housing market crash in the mid-2000s.
“When the housing market started to come back, so did we,” Kuntz told HRM. “And now that the housing market is rebounding, we felt now was the time to go big and tell the world 84 Lumber is back – this is who we are and we need more people to join us.”
The ad – dubbed ‘Mars’ – makes it clear the company is seeking a high calibre of candidate and calls on NASA runners up to apply for the management training program.
“In preparation for man’s journey to Mars, NASA requested applications for space travel candidates,” begins the commercial, which is set in space.
“It takes ambition, a can-do attitude and a lot of moxie to be chosen for one of the most coveted positions in the universe,” it continues. “Runners up, we invite you to apply for our management training program an 84 Lumber.”
While the ad sets a high standard, it also focuses on rather than qualifications – just like NASA did when appealing for candidates for the first human mission to Mars. Kuntz says it’s an intentional parallel as 84 Lumber values aptitude and attitude over education and employment history.
“We value new ideas and creative ways of doing things,” he says. “We want people who think outside the box and while there’s certainly some risk to that thinking, there’s also a lot more reward.”
Of course using a Super Bowl ad as part of a recruitment campaign does come with its own risks and the organization could have been inundated with unsuitable applications – thankfully, Kuntz says the opposite is true.
“We’ve definitely seen an uptick in the traffic to our careers page and the applications we’ve received, but more importantly, we’ve been blown away by the quality of some of the people who have expressed interest in working here,” he told HRM.
“We’re looking forward to hiring some of these people and getting even more of these types of applications.”
Tom McCartney, director of HR at 84 Lumber, agreed that it was a relief to get high-quality applications rather than an abundance of average ones.
“We’d rather get 5,000 applications from the right people vs. a deluge of 500,000 applications from every corner of the country,” he said.
“Success is determined by the people we hire and the impact those individuals make on our business, not the number of applications we receive. Our goal is to attract and hire the next generation of leaders for 84 Lumber.”