New technology is increasingly seeping into areas which, until recently, were considered the exclusive domain of humans, such as recruitment. Nik Nieuwenhuijs, founder and CEO of creative digital agency CODE D’AZUR, tells about an exciting blend of creativity, strategy and technology for ABN AMRO.
In early 2018, Maarten Bokhoven, Head of Employer Branding at ABN AMRO Bank, contacted Nieuwenhuijs. Bokhoven told Nieuwenhuijs his bank needed around 600 highly skilled IT workers – who happened to be extremely thin on the ground. He also asked if CODE D’AZUR might think about a way to get young digital natives – who are being courted by just about every company in the world – interested in a job with a large corporation which also found itself dogged by the poor image of the banking industry.
“We learned from initial talks we had with ABN AMRO after they first contacted us that they believed they were dealing with a communication problem, which could be solved through the use of creativity and technology,” Nieuwenhuijs tells us in his office on Amsterdam’s Oostelijke Handelskade. “However, more, different or smarter communication often does not solve the real problem at hand. So in this case, we turned the communication issue into a question: How can the bank create a compelling narrative that will get it noticed by young IT graduates, and shed its image as a run-of-the-mill employer in the process?”
This challenge eventually resulted in The Lockdown: a mobile escape room game powered by augmented reality, which can be played anywhere in the world. Nieuwenhuijs: “In creating the game, we looked 10 years ahead into the future of finance. Players are presented with some pretty tricky challenges related to blockchain, AI and information security, and must prevent a financial disaster. Players only find out at the very end of the game that it was created by ABN AMRO.”
The Lockdown was a massive success: the app was downloaded 11,000 times in two months’ time, during which people spent more than 1,500 hours playing the game. The bank received more than 1,040 job applications altogether, up 43 per cent from the same period in the previous year. Yet Nieuwenhuijs does not view The Lockdown as an aggressive recruitment campaign. “While it’s true that it really expanded our pool of applicants, the point of the campaign was really to put ABN AMRO on the map as an employer that offers great digital job opportunities. It was so successful because we created something that was both very cool and could be used as a type of assessment tool. As a digital agency, we’re familiar with the target audience. We knew this demographic generally loves games, including brain games. The Lockdown turned out to be an exciting blend of creativity, strategy and technology. It’s not exactly your average recruitment campaign.”