Looking at recruitment advertising through a new lens

The CAF Snapchat lens
The CAF Snapchat lens

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In today’s ever-evolving digital media landscape, advertisers are continuously challenged to use new tools and tactics outside of traditional media to communicate with their target audiences.

At the Department of National Defence (DND), the Director of Marketing and Advertising (DMA) is the organization responsible for supporting the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) recruitment efforts. In recent months, DMA became the first organization in the Government of Canada (GoC) to advertise on Snapchat to reach millennials, an audience categorized as being between ages 18-34, and whose media habits are stretched across a wide range of digital platforms.

Snapchat is a mobile app that allows users to augment their reality by using the phone’s camera to add filters – or lenses – which alter the user’s appearance or adds interactive characters to their surroundings. The lens was developed in consultation with each of the three military environments and showcased a variety of jobs available in the CAF. By using the CAF lens within the app, users were able to see themselves wearing military uniforms/gear, allowing them to imagine what a career in the military would be like – a thought they maybe never had before.

The Snapchat lens takeover – which made the lens a prominent feature in the app for one day – took place on September 28, 2017, and was seen by nearly 2 million Canadians.

The feature resonated with Canadians in the target age group, with one user saying, “It was about time [the CAF] joined the 21st century.”

Integrating Snapchat into the annual advertising campaign is an example of how GoC advertisers are embracing new digital media platforms to reach audiences, moving away from focusing solely on the traditional mediums like TV, radio and print.

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