Recruiting talent is hard. Over the years, we’ve produced videos and campaigns for our clients that have helped address talent gaps and boost recruitment. We’re proud of that work, given the degree of difficulty in creating content that resonates with and, most importantly, recruit people.
Crafting an ad that gets your message across while striking the right tone is enough of a challenge. It’s easy to miss the mark—just take a look at 2017 ads from Dove and Pepsi that came across to many as tone-deaf, at best—and the consequences can be disastrous for a brand. For every one of these mistakes, however, is an ad that strikes the right tone, resonates, entertains, and produces meaningful action. Today we’re taking a closer look at one of the best ads we saw in 2017: a police recruitment video produced by the New Zealand Police Department.
We’ll break down everything that we love about this video in the following sections, but first, a quick summary of what’s happening in this ad:
- 70 New Zealand police officers race across city streets, neighborhoods, and parks, pursuing crime
- Along the way, they assist the elderly, save children, give locals advice, and protect the community
- Why are they doing this? Because they CARE
- Theme: these officers want New Zealand to be the safest country in the world, but they can’t do it without your help
- A call to action at the end: Do you care enough to be a cop?
Now, let’s get into what we love about this video, and what we can learn from it.
Changing points of view
The recruitment video immediately throws us into the action. A focused officer leads a police team preparing to enter a facility:
As soon as they enter, the point of view cuts to another officer inside. She dives across an obstacle and emerges from the other side of the facility as…
…this officer. He’s in hot pursuit of a criminal. And as he looks to his left and begins to run off screen, the point of view switches again to another officer, also running in pursuit:
Within the first 30 seconds of this recruitment video, we’ve already seen six different police officers and switched point of view as many times. This pattern continues throughout the entirety of the ad. We love this technique: It’s fast-paced and exciting, and establishes a linear story thread—a team of police officers, working together to chase down a to-be-revealed criminal—told through multiple perspectives and shot in continuous action.
Throughout the ad, the camera cuts seamlessly from person to person, and well-executed jump cuts strengthen the various perspectives. As the male officer pictured above turns his head to the right and begins to run off screen, the camera turns and abruptly cuts to a female officer running in that same direction. This camera technique reinforces the linear story and keeps us excited as viewers.
The changing point of view emphasizes the diversity of both the police workforce and the community that they serve. That brings us to another strength of this ad: casting.
Those charged with protecting citizens should represent those citizens, and the multiple points of view make it easy for everyone to see themselves in this story. The various police spokespersons create a feeling that this is who the New Zealand Police really are, rather than one individual officer standing on behalf of the entire force.
The ad features police officers of all sexes, genders, races, sizes and colors. This underscores not only the diversity of the workforce but makes the story relatable to an average person: You don’t need to be a buff superhero to fight crime and make a difference.
Seven seconds into the recruitment video, we find a funny moment. That focused officer leading her team into the facility is distracted by background noise from off-screen. She makes a shushing gesture as the camera quickly pans over to reveal a group of kilt-wearing bagpipers, playing loud music.
This is the first of many intentional breaks in action throughout this video, all edited to produce a fun, humorous effect among viewers. In turn, the police force seems friendly and approachable, for both recruits and citizens. Just look at this one officer who doubles-back from a dead sprint to help an elderly man cross the street safely:
A caring moment from a caring man. But no more than 3 seconds pass before the officer is upstaged by this guy:
That’s Kiwi internet celebrity William “Waiirua” Cribb above, showing off his moves as our upstanding officer helps the elderly man cross the street. Cribb’s appearance surprises, and the absurdity of his dancing makes for a hilarious break in the action. Another fun cameo comes around the 1:10 mark, when renowned New Zealand All Blacks rugby captain Portia Woodman helps an officer push a broken-down car up the street:
This is all genuine fun, and the nods to Māori culture throughout this ad help reinforce the approachable, authentic tone that the New Zealand Police Department aim for. The funny moments abound: Men in kilts, cats in police uniforms, a Speedo-clad bodybuilder holding a boulder over his head. A Māori woman pulling a tire sled, taking an officer’s comment too literally. Not to mention, the athletic parkour moves throughout the video caused us to press rewind a few times.
We won’t spoil all the fun here or ruin the ending (they do find the criminal), but we’d be remiss to omit the credits, which cap the recruitment video in cheeky fashion. In a split screen, we’re treated to funny blooper outtakes from officers who starred in the ad. But the real humor comes on the right-side of the screen, where the credits sarcastically describe the actors and production crew:
This police recruitment video works on so many levels. It’s exciting, funny, human, and just pure fun. Here’s what we take away:
Point of view matters
By casting real police officers, the department is showing Kiwis exactly who protects them. That establishes trust. Likewise, the New Zealand Police Department requires people from all backgrounds to run efficiently, and the mixed makeup of the force helps aspiring officers see themselves in the police mission.
The human moments—helping someone cross the street, pushing a broken-down car, even the credit bloopers—establish these officers as people who care. And that’s the point of this video: to show that caring is an essential part of serving in the New Zealand police force. The tagline Do you care enough to be a cop? ends the video, with a clear call to action: Take the first step.
Humor can change perception and inspire action
Being a police officer is a serious, difficult, and dangerous profession. But cops have fun and laugh like the rest of us. They’re regular people, and this ad shows as much. It upends stereotypes and the conventional tone of police ads, showing that the New Zealand officers are relatable and love what they do. That makes it easy for a regular person to see themselves in the story, which inspires the video’s intended action: increasing applications. More on that below.
How the recruitment video performed
The results of the New Zealand police recruitment video were astounding. It went viral, by any definition, within its first week after debuting on Facebook on November 25. Just take a look at some of this Facebook metric data (again, in one week alone!):
- 5.8 million unique views
- Reached 14 million users
- Generated 415,000 reactions
- Received 215,000 likes
- Was shared 75,000 times
And that’s only Facebook data. We can’t even imagine how many people consumed this ad via websites, blogs, tweets, and through text and email.
What’s most important, however, is that the ad worked. In just two weeks after the video launched, the New Zealand Police Department received nearly 650 new applications, with some 2,000 more people expressing serious interest in applying. The New Zealand Police employ roughly 12,000 staff, so those new applications in a two-week window represent roughly 5% of their total workforce. That’s incredible!
What did you think?
Did you enjoy this ad? What was your favorite moment? What did you learn from it?
Leave us a comment below and let’s talk about it!