Tuesday, December 07, 2021

15632: This Recruitment Video Is Cool—Like Vanilla Ice Chilling On The Titanic.


Advertising Age spotlighted a recruitment video from Canvas Worldwide that stars the shop’s head of new business rapping. The performance demonstrates again how White advertising agencies love hip hop—while underscoring the paradox of talent searches conducted by talentless hacks.


Canvas Worldwide Debuts Recruitment Rap Video The You Will ‘Love’ Or ‘Hate’


Aaron Anderson, head of new business, talks about creating the music video and industry hiring practices


By Parker Herren


A quick Google search will yield hundreds of results on how to stand out in a job application, but there’s far less advice for employers. While staffing shortages plague agency life as work stacks up, employers find themselves needing to be the ones to stand out among a competitive talent pool. Today, agency Canvas Worldwide debuted its effort to attract young personnel: a recruitment music video.


The track, “Wait Til You See These Gigs (at Canvas Worldwide),” sounds a lot like The Ying Yang Twins’ “Wait (The Whisper Song),” but Aaron Anderson, Canvas’ head of new business and lyricist/rapper on the track, told Ad Age it’s more an homage. Anderson said that in addition to agency work, he’s a musician. He composed early drafts of the original tune on his laptop, but the finished beats came together with the help of producer Josh Mease.


“Hey how you doin’ smart person, lemme whisper in your ear. Tell you something that you might like to hear,” Anderson raps at the beginning of the song. “You got a media mind and your resume’s strong; come work at Canvas, move your career along.”


The lyrics cover the agency’s accolades and top accounts (Kia and McDonald’s products make cameos), as well as Canvas’ employee benefits: “No limit PTO, 401K matching; development and education we ain’t lacking.”


Anderson said that writing the lyrics was “the easiest part.”


“Because the money approved, I had to actually put in some substance,” Anderson said. “It couldn't just all be fun and glitz and glamour. So, I packed in some fun selling points along with it.”


But fun was definitely the assignment when it came to filming the music video. It’s an over-the-top, playful appeal to potential team members. Anderson’s rhymes play over images of Canvas employees dancing and repping branded swag. Over 30 team members from the agency’s Playa Vista office participated in the video, as well as Zoom additions from outposts in New York, Atlanta, Chicago and Dallas. Even Paul Woolmington, Canvas' CEO, steals multiple scenes dancing in the streets of NYC.


“When I pitched this to the executive team,” said Anderson, “I was like, this is either going to be the best idea you've ever heard or the worst idea you’ve ever heard. There is no middle ground. You will love this or you will hate this. No in betweens.”


The idea for “Wait Til You See These Gigs (at Canvas Worldwide)” came from Anderson’s evaluation of what agencies were missing in their recruitment processes. Inundating candidates with posts and messages on LinkedIn didn’t groove with him. He wanted to do something that would let applicants “know a little bit about our culture and some of the unique people that make this place really special.”


“We arrived at this idea that we're really serious about the business, but we’re never going to take ourselves too seriously,” said Anderson. “We’re going to have some fun at our own expense…When we were reading in every trade that’s out there about how challenging it was to hire and how everyone was fighting over the same six people, the thought I had was just we’ve got to stand out.”


Ultimately, Anderson hopes that the music video proposes a challenge to other agencies in the industry to inject their identity and mission deeper into their recruiting efforts, rather than stopping at reposting the same listing or upping referral bonuses.


“This is the industry that gets motivated by competitors,” said Anderson. “We see something cool that they’re doing, so we gotta go and respond to that. I would love if other agencies see this and are like, ‘You know what? They’re right. We should do something more to promote the industry,’ because I do think what’s great about advertising—especially with all the disciplines that sit inside of it on media and creative—are that you can come in from other industries.”


Anderson said he can already imagine the critical Fishbowl posts about his recruitment video, but he’s excited to be on a team willing to dig into his silly ideas with him—and to add a few more as a result.

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