Why The Martin Agency Decided to Gamify Its Account Wins to Attract Talent

7 wins with 45 new positions

The Martin Agency posted clues about its new clients and openings. The Martin Agency
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Last week, The Martin Agency took to Twitter to announce some job openings. While promoting new roles in social media is not an uncommon practice, what made this unique was the agency’s approach to gamifying the available positions and the brands on which the talent would work. The Martin Agency didn’t reveal specifics about its new client wins but indicated they account for seven new pieces of business.

Today, the agency took another social approach to recruiting, continuing the digital treasure hunt on Instagram, again teasing out clues as to which brands are now part of the IPG shop’s roster. 

According to Martin Agency CEO Kristen Cavallo, the idea of creating some mystery around the brands was to create some buzz around jobs that were already posted and available on the agency’s website. 

“[Clients] want agencies to hire great talent to work on their brands,” said Cavallo. “This is also a way of telegraphing to the industry that you’ve won something and are hiring. If you can’t drum up conversation, how could we create it?”

“Even in the midst of [the pandemic], there’s a lot of competition for the best talent,” added Elizabeth Paul, chief strategy officer at The Martin Agency. “Often, when working with recruiters, they’re working with talent that’s already connected and on the inside [of the industry]. In our overarching commitment to bring in diverse talent, we’re always thinking of ways to lower barriers and cast a wider net.”

An agency spokesperson said that over 1,200 people have applied for 45 available positions so far, marking a 30% increase since kicking off the gig alerts. All posts are organic (not paid) and netted 112,000-plus impressions of its thread on Twitter with close to 13,000 engagements. On LinkedIn, one post resulted in over 62,500 impressions. 

According to Paul, 53 people were hired this year at the agency (The Martin Agency had layoffs in April due to client scopes and not “financial duress or suspended campaigns”), 50% of which identify as BIPOC. 

On Twitter, speculation grew as to what brands the agency was talking about in its gamified social hunt. The first brand listed, for example, noted that the new client is “a global CPG brand that’s won 80 Cannes Lions over the last 18 years,” also adding a bonus hint to “use your senses.” Answers ranged from P&G or Unilever brands to SC Johnson and even PepsiCo.

From there, the remaining six were teased with would-be Martin Agency staffers or armchair industry quarterbacks listing their guesses.  

Cavallo noted the wide range of opinions (some real, some not) and amateur agency/brand sleuthing, and said people have been accurate, especially with one brand that, without revealing any clues, is “almost uniformly correct.”

And while there was fun afoot on Twitter, with overwhelmingly positive responses—and likely the same on Instagram after today’s drop—opinions on Fishbowl, predictably, were mixed. 

“There’s not much you can do [with anonymous comments], but it was interesting to see the debate,” noted Cavallo. “There were people we didn’t know commenting that ‘seven wins is seven wins’ about the fact that positive agency news is a plus.”

Over time, The Martin Agency’s new clients will reveal themselves, and this concept appears to have caught fire. Yet, according to Paul, the temptation to try something like this again could wear thin.

“I don’t think that we’ll do it this way again,” she said. “That doesn’t mean we wouldn’t be creative, given the same challenge.”


@zanger doug.zanger@adweek.com Doug Zanger is a senior editor, agencies at Adweek, focusing on creativity and agencies.
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