BCITO launches online DIY reality show in bid to recruit new tradies

BCITO and Brand Spanking have teamed up to raise awareness about the growing labour shortfall in the construction industry Big Brother style. Hoping to highlight career opportunities the industry has to offer, the ‘Not your average shed’ campaign is challenging apprentices to build a shed in the Sylvia Park carpark while cameras film every move.

Over the course of the build, seven episodes will be posted on the purpose built BCITO TV website and social media, with two shared so far. Other shorter spots will also be posted until the shed is completed on 21 April to be auctioned off to support Habitat for Humanity.

BCITO marketing and communications manager Andrew Robertson was adamant that a content-led, experiential activation was necessary to raise the popularity of apprenticeships, and cut through typical tertiary education marketing fare.

“Bringing together real apprentices to run and build a $100,000 construction project in one of New Zealand’s busiest shopping centres hasn’t been done before. I reckon it’s an amazing way to connect with our audience.”

He says it wanted to create an authentic “buzz” for career seekers, with the coolest thing about this campaign being that it didn’t have to be “set up”.

“Take a real, weighty building project, add apprentices and stir. Content just happens, same as it does on every building site across the country, every day. We couldn’t make this stuff up.”

To attract viewers, Uprise is running a campaign across high-use digital channels including NZME’s radio, digital and social channels, Trade Me and pre-rolls on YouTube. The apprentices are also using their own social channels on Snapchat and Instagram to share their life on the job and after work, filming a number of back-stories to show the variety of backgrounds and diversity of the apprentices.

Since the build started, the Sylvia Park carpark has played host to media and press with programmes, such as Breakfast, streaming live broadcasts.

“We’re blown away by the reach and engagement being achieved already and can’t wait to see the results as we build towards the auction – web traffic jumped about 300 per cent in the first couple of days. It’s great to be tackling a real challenge with a real life project. Being able to contribute to Habitat for Humanity’s great work at the end of it all is the cherry on top,” Robertson says.

Brand Spanking director and creative strategist Mark Pickering says it’s getting plenty of attention because not only is it “not your average shed”, it’s also “not your average campaign” so people are keen to check it out.

Being a recruitment campaign for building apprentices, the primary audience is 15- to 19-year-olds, with Pickering saying it hopes to attract those who want to leave school or are considering their career options. It also hopes to reach those who have started university and found it isn’t for them.

Another key audience is parents, as they are the key influencers in young people’s lives. Pickering says they want parents to watch it and think “that’s something my kid could be doing”.

Building the shed is the first phase of the campaign, with the second beginning six weeks after the project is complete. Pickering says this phase is about raising awareness about labour issues in the construction industry while the second will focus on driving sign-ups from potential apprentices.

‘Not your average shed’ comes after Brand Spanking and Fluxx merged earlier this year, creating an agency that could compete with larger players in the industry. Pickering says this campaign is an example of how the move has allowed it to produce campaigns of a bigger scale.

“This is where we want to be as one of the leading experiential agencies, this is the kind of campaign that we want to lead with. Overall this is definitely the biggest budget campaign we’ve worked on, there’s a lot of media that’s got involved and a lot of stuff that has happened with it. It was a great way to start the year.”

He also says it shows the power of experiential as a lead idea. “Obviously this campaign isn’t just experiential but without the experiential build going on out there, there kind of wouldn’t be much happening so it’s a good way to show the power of the medium and it’s a good way to show what we can pull off as a coordinator across all those channels as well.”

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