SENIORS FOR SENIORS

Short List
ClientVODAFONE
Category B01. Corporate Image, Communication & Reputation Management
TitleSENIORS FOR SENIORS
Product/ServiceVODAFONE
Entrant McCANN PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
Idea Creation McCANN PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
Credits
Name Company Position
Razvan Capanescu McCann Prague Chief Creative Officer
Filip Kukla McCann Prague Creative Director
Filip Kosatka McCann Prague Art Director
Lucie Srbkova McCann Prague Account Director
Vladimira Dolezelova Vodafone Czech Republic Manager for Brand Planning and Integration
Jan Binar McCann Prague CEO
Alice Reindlová McCann Prague PR&Communication manager
Veronika Jelsikova Stink Films Film Production
Michael Sroubek Stink Films Film Production
Jakub Svejkar Stink Films Director
Radim Strelka Stink Films DOP

Why is this work relevant for PR?

“Seniors for Seniors” by Vodafone succeed to bring the important topic of Age Discrimination on the public agenda, changing perceptions about the older generation, and providing a viable solution to the issues of ageism in recruitment and technological divide between generations, with important benefits for the business and reputation of our client. Through this program, we recruited, trained, and reconverted pensioners into Vodafone sales force to support older customers and connect them to modern technology in a dignifying and successful way. We employed different tactics, including classical PR tools like media and authorities relations, achieving national coverage and parliamentary support.

Background

Seniors represent an important percentage of the population anywhere. In Czech Republic they represent 20% of the market, and the numbers are growing, as people live longer, more active lives. Still, like in most countries, Czech seniors are usually overlooked. By society in general, and by marketers and brands in particular. In a world obsessed with youth and targeting the next generation, there is a tendency to regard older people as debilitated and hopeless. This only accentuates if we think of the modern tech world. Vodafone wanted to change this, and challenged us to find a viable solution to the technological divide between generations and turn the preconceptions on their head. They wanted acts, not ads; a real first step towards bringing the issue and Vodafone’s solution to the attention of the media, general public and authorities, with both business and reputation benefits, setting an example in the market.

Describe the creative idea

Seniors crave to stay in touch with their loved younger ones through modern tech, but don’t like to ask about the new tech possibilities or to go to tech stores; they are afraid they would look ridiculous, as younger people (including tech vendors) use too much jargon and don’t have patience for elders. Technology would be much better explained to seniors by other seniors, in normal language and softer pace. So we developed “Seniors for Seniors”, a HR experimental program to recruit, train and therefore reconvert pensioners into Vodafone sales force, specifically to help and service the growing older segment of customers. The recruitment was based on 2 simple criteria: to be over 65 y.o. and to know little to nothing about modern technologies. Training the new hires was different than before, redesigning Vodafone’s training program, using less memorisation but learning by play and many visual aids.

Describe the strategy

We had two different publics in our campaign: 1. the elders, who we wanted to recruit and to service, and 2. the general public who we wanted to make aware through influencers like media and authorities about the ageism issue and prove that Vodafone is a responsible company who is making a first step in solving the problem. For Public no 1 we used the channels the seniors prefer (like supermarket magazines, kiosk posters, or local media), and relevant messages crafted as quirky jokes, appealing to the older people. For Public no 2 we used media and authorities relations. We targeted first and foremost TV stations that had discussed about other forms of discrimination (sexism for example) before, as well as other national media outlets, creating a snowball effect. We used testimonials with our recruits, and videos from the training to present our case.

Describe the execution

The campaign took 6 months from brief to implementation. A lot of time was spent to identify and develop the changes needed in Vodafone’s sales force training program, so it can be best adapted to the new recruits. We worked with both Vodafone’s representatives, and learning & development experts specialised in teaching older people. The recruitment program is just a first step – the experimental pilot, done in just a few Vodafone stores – but the communication was nation-wide, aimed to generate awareness at a wider level. The topic was took over by members of the Czech Parliament (amongst which the leader of the most important party) and incorporated on their agenda.

List the results

Ageism became a public topic as a result of our campaign, and Vodafone a good example in the context; mentions of this topic in media and social media increased with 1200%, making it the second most discussed discrimination form, after sexism, all with the right sentiment and tone of voice.