Red Wing flips Labor Day campaign into hiring effort for unemployed Americans

Dive Brief:

  • Red Wing Shoes is challenging other brands to join its social media effort to promote jobs as Labor Day weekend approaches. The privately held footwear company seeks to help 25 million unemployed Americans find jobs by asking other companies to list their job openings in social media posts with the #LaborDayOn hashtag by Sept. 7, per a press release.
  • General Mills, Land O’ Lakes, Michael Foods, Sleep Number, Toro, United Rentals and Vibram are among the brands that are participating in the effort, per Red Wing’s website. The company is urging people to search for the #LaborDayOn hashtag on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter to find the job openings at participating companies.
  • Red Wing will transform more than 525 of its stores into hubs for people to search for local trade jobs, and turn its 800-RED-WING customer service line into a job search hotline as part of the effort. The shoe company also created a short film on its website that viewers can click to see job openings at Red Wing, which ran a full-page ad in The New York Times to promote #LaborDayOn.

Dive Insight:

Red Wing is taking a different tack toward Labor Day, which is typically a major promotional period for retailers and brands, by seeking to help the millions of people who have lost their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic. While the unemployment rate has plunged from a peak in the past few months as many cities and states ease lockdowns on businesses, it’s still higher than it was during the last recession, per data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The agency’s data showed 5.9 million job openings in the country by the end of June; Red Wing can help to fill some of those available positions with its #LaborDayOn campaign.

By running a campaign on social media, Red Wing and other companies can reach a broad audience of younger adults who are heavy users of the apps and are more likely than older generations to be unemployed. In July, the unemployment rate was more than 18% for people ages 20 to 24 and about 12% for 25 to 34, compared with the national average of about 11%, according to the BLS. By blanketing social media with job openings with the #LaborDayOn hashtag, brand participants in the campaign ideally will reach those most in need. The most important platform for the campaign may be LinkedIn, given its heavy focus on professional networking, career development and job listings, though Facebook and Instagram are more popular in the U.S., per a study by Pew Research Center.

Red Wing’s #LaborDayOn campaign follows a similar effort by Dunkin’ Brands, whose cross-channel effort highlighted the 25,000 job openings among its U.S. locations. The “Dunkin’ Runs on You” campaign was the coffee and baked goods chain’s first national ad campaign focused on recruiting new employees. Dunkin’ sought to recruit workers even as the pandemic disrupted its operations with fewer people commuting to work in the morning, though the company reported that same-store results were showing signs of recovery as Q2 progressed, according to an earnings announcement. Red Wing’s campaign comes as the labor market shows more signs of healing after the lockdowns led to a surge in joblessness in April.

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