FCB Health tackles healthcare agency recruiting challenges with 'Bold' campaign

(FCB Health)

Several years ago, FCB Health surveyed college students on their views of healthcare advertising. One of its starkest findings was that 93% of the students said they would only go into healthcare advertising if they had no other choice.

“It was depressing at best,” said Rich Levy, chief creative officer of the FCB Health network. “If we want to improve the level of creative work in healthcare advertising, we thought we needed to get the best students coming out of the best advertising schools and teach them to do healthcare advertising in the new way.”

So began FCB Health’s “Bold Beginnings” recruiting and onboarding marketing campaign. At first, in the summer of 2014, it was a social-media-only effort directed at college students. FCB began going to college campuses, award shows and creating even more content that showed what work life is like at FCB Health network agencies. Just last month, though, the agency launched a website for Bold Beginnings in a push to expand the recruiting effort beyond college students to a larger audience of agency talent and potential clients. 

“It’s been very helpful from an education and awareness standpoint,” Mariela Orochena, senior VP, director of talent acquisition for the FCB Health network in the U.S., told FiercePharmaMarketing. “A lot of the creative people we’ve hired out of schools have said to us they had no idea that healthcare could be this much fun, collaborative and really push the work to be great. … It’s taken us to take this on the road and really get it visible.”

Levy added, “I bet if I fielded that same (survey) question today, it would be in the 30s or 40s. I think it’s changed that much. … I used to have to fight and really twist arms to get kids from the best schools, and today it’s much, much easier.”

The results are also tangible. This summer, FCB Health had more than 1,000 applicants for 34 summer intern spots. All of the graduating senior interns who worked in creative this summer were hired into the FCB Health network, whose agencies include FCB Health, Area 23, Neon, Mosaic Group, FCBCure, and ProHealth.

And the new website seems to already be gaining traction, too. After the launch, Orochena received “a lot of calls from SVP and above level folks who were very interested by what they saw,” she said.

But the agency's overall goal is about more than just raising the bar for healthcare creative. 

“Our aspiration is not to be the best healthcare advertising agency. Our aspiration is to be a great advertising agency period--that happens to work in healthcare,” Levy said.

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