Out of over 4,000 firefighters in London only 300 are female. A shockingly low number, the lack of female firefighters deprives the Brigade of talent, women of opportunity and society of true representation. Women weren’t applying because the image of the fire brigade perpetuated male stereotypes; Macho men kicking down doors and putting their life on the line - when they weren’t posing for sexy calendars.
The brief to us was simple: Reframe how women think about London Fire Brigade and demonstrate how appropriate the role is for many of them. The ultimate objective was to recruit 100 more female firefighters in 2 years, on a campaign budget of £150k with media spend of £100k.
An entirely new approach was needed.
We had to elevate the task from being rational to emotional, using our guiding principle: it’s not just what you do, it’s why you do it that counts. At the same time debunk misconceptions and provide education on the actual role of a firefighter.
We found our insight in our guiding principle: Firefighters protect those closest to us. This is the most powerful and intuitive instinct we are born with and one women can truly relate to. Not just to fight fire, not just to prevent and rescue, but to protect.
The hero piece of the campaign was a highly emotive film that that showed a snapshot of the futures a potential firefighter would be protecting.
The film dramatized our creative platform ‘Firefighter. It means so much more’ and unpacked the true emotional and rational meaning of being a firefighter. “Is your future protecting the future of others” was a powerful call to action that got to the heart of a life changing career.
The film went live with the next round of recruitment and the results were outstanding. Within 48 hours, there were over 1300 applications to the campaign recruitment site, with no paid media. Within a week, the campaign had generated over 4000 applications. Most importantly, 40% of these were female, 8 times more than previous campaigns.
Due to overwhelming numbers a temporary hold was put on recruitment five weeks into our two year campaign. And with such a successful start, we’re set to smash our two-year objective to recruit 100 new female firefighters.
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