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First Drinks / SmithCarey

Recruitment campaign


First Drinks, one of the UK’s most dynamic drinks companies and the country’s leading supplier of premium spirit brands, was faced with a familiar conundrum – and a unique PR opportunity. Typically for the FMCG world, people knew their brands much better than they knew them as an employer. Less typically, the company was bucking the trend of the economic downturn, growing fast and looking to recruit the best Sales & Marketing talent to take them forward.

The first thing to do was to bring together all the stakeholders to thrash out a brief and a joined-up strategy. That meant the client’s Sales Director and Marketing Director, the recruiting consultants SmithCarey, the media and the advertising agency (us!). We took on the media plan and the creative solutions, with SmithCarey handling the candidate journey and The Grocer providing proactive support. Activity was timed to dovetail with drinks industry issues/supplements and included a full page ad with acetate overlay that ‘animated’ the message. Advertising was backed up by a dedicated recruitment website, and we also produced a candidate brochure to support SmithCarey’s selection process.

During the original round of advertising activity, 251 applications fed 108 candidates into the First Drinks talent database and filled eight immediate vacancies. Subsequent activity in The Grocer and on Grocer Jobs stimulated ongoing interest and many more applications. Which can’t have hurt when it came time to choose the Recruitment Agency of the Year at the Marketing, Advertising & PR awards (not that awards matter, of course…)


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