Cincinnati probably isn't the first city you'd pick to work in. That's exactly why a bunch of interns at Possible Cincinnati, tasked with finding a way to attract talent, created a Tinder account to fix people up with the office.
"Starting a new job is like starting a new relationship—it can be scary," says Madison Dejaegher, digital marketing intern at Possible. "You most likely left the last relationship because you weren't happy or you were not reaching your goals."
The project came about when the group was tasked with creating and executing a project "in addition to whatever client work they're involved in," says Brian LeCount, executive-VP of strategy and insights at Possible, a digital ad agency under WPP. The goal was to address that "we're a global agency and we're WPP's largest digital agency around the globe, but we have a challenge attracting strong talent to the city because it's not the first market you might think of when you think of advertising agencies."
Behind the Tinder idea was intern David Harris, who shot and edited the video with the help of the entire intern class. He posited that if people use Tinder to find friends or significant others in new cities, why not use the app to go on a blind date—with Cincinnati?
A rising senior at Savannah College of Art and Design, Harris named the profile Cincy, and tested it with people in several markets, including New York, Chicago and Cleveland. More than 100 men and women swiped right.
The interns selected Daniel Mashburn, assistant account executive at Leo Burnett in Chicago, to fly to the city. Working with a budget of $2,000, the team paid for Mashburn's flight and Airbnb. (The interns, by the way, came way under budget, spending about $950 on the entire project, including production costs.)
Dejaegher, who graduates from University of North Carolina at Charlotte in December, says the team chose Mashburn because he works at an agency, seemed like a "fun dude" and would fit in. People at Posible "are bold, relentless, interested and together and we're made up of a merry band of unicorns," she says.
Mashburn says he saw the Cincy Tinder account just by browsing the app – "a normal Satruday night thing."
He says he's seen promotions and stunts done on Tinder before, but thought it'd be too good to be true to be chosen for one, especially one in which the travel is free.
When Mashburn accepted the trip, he says he didn't know it was part of a recruiting effort. "I thought it was a date experience being run through and ad agency," he says. He told his superiors at Leo Burnett about the trip and he says everyone was fine with it.
While recruiting was part of the goal, Harris says it wasn't the only ambition. "It was about proof of concept around experiencing Cincinnati for a weekend and falling in love with it in a short time," he says.
Overall, Mashburn says he "loved" the trip. He had only been to Cincinnati for a few hours for work previously, so he says he was excited to experience the city, especially the art scene and breweries. During his stay, Mashburn didn't have to do anything in particular (other than wear a t-shirt on the way home made by the interns). He says the interns created a fun itinerary for him based on his social media accounts.
Adam Kahn, executive creative director at Possible, says the entire agency was blown away by the initiative. "I fundamentally believe that no matter where you are, you should learn from the people above you and be inspired by the people below you and today was that moment," says Kahn.
The intern class, which includes Bridget Barbara, Chloe Borah, Jordan Flood, Nello Pesci and Kara Svenson, also created a microsite for Possible Cincinnat that showcases the office's work, staff and culture. Prior to this, Possible only had a global website.
"This class of interns did some amazing things to identify and communicate what was special about us and about Cincinnati," says LeCount. As for Tinder, he says he can't wait to discuss how to repeat the program with his executive leadership team because it's "such a cool idea."
Using Tinder for work is not entirely unprecedented. Last spring, Dentsu's Fetch used Tinder to find potential interns for its New York office.