Leo Burnett

Core disciplines: Advertising/Creative, Creative production, Digital, Integrated marketing

One of the Top 30 most viewed agencies for 2017



Creating cultural impact by banning the criminal record box on job applications to give ex-offenders a second chance.



Our brief from charity Business in the Community (BITC) was to highlight the difficulties ex-offenders experience in the job market, often being  written off by prospective employers in a matter of seconds. Ingrained behaviour needs a disruptive approach to make the viewer consider actions and attitudes they might otherwise give no thought to.



In our film, an ex-offender talks about his search for a job. Using a ‘skip ad’ style button, the viewer can skip over the film after he has disclosed his past. However, each time the viewer skips, they return to the film and the ex-offender gets more and more dejected. If the viewer does not skip, and watches the entire ad, he becomes noticeably more confident and upbeat and, by the end, thanks the viewer for watching. The film draws a parallel between employers rejecting potential job applicants who are ex-offenders and viewers of online videos skipping ads they don’t want to see.

To date, 17 organisations, collectively employing 175,000 people, have now signed up to radically overhauling their recruitment process. This has been achieved in 7 months – compared to 16 years for one million roles made available for ex-offenders in the USA. The UK campaign is almost five times as effective at opening up jobs for ex-offenders thus far and so far 627 ex-offenders have found employment since the launch in October 2013. This translates to a saving of approximately £29.5million to the UK economy.



Leo Burnett


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