Accountemps Reaches Younger Audience with 'Find Your Bob' Campaign

B-to-B Case Study: How to Refresh an Established Brand with Humor

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Staffing agency Robert Half wants to breathe new life into its long-running campaign for Accountemps, a division that helps employers find temporary accounting and finance personnel.

It had been running a radio campaign called "Bob from Accountemps" for nearly 20 years, said Amanda Leach-Rouvi, senior director-brand marketing at Robert Half. The campaign was widely recognized and performed well for the company, but the brand wanted to reach a younger demographic, she said.

"As we looked at doing an updated campaign, we still wanted to convey the core message that we provide a really good match to what our clients and candidates are looking for -- not just skills but personality and workplace environment," Ms. Leach-Rouvi said. "We wanted to make sure we were appealing to a younger accounting and finance demographic, and also appeal to our core small- and midsize-company base."

Robert Half hired Traction, a San Francisco agency, to develop the campaign and expand it to include print, out-of-home, online and social media. The budget was undisclosed.

"We wanted to humanize the brand -- make it friendly and approachable -- and do it in a way that played to the heritage of the campaign they had run before, but make it more contemporary to appeal to a younger audience," said Adam Kleinberg, CEO of Traction.

So Traction developed an integrated campaign called "Find Your Bob," making heavy use of online video ads, social media and traditional media to drive users to a landing page featuring content about Bob -- still the accounting temp who comes in and saves the day, but with more humor and storytelling than the previous campaign.

"We used a mockumentary-style format to create content of people extolling the virtues of Bob," Mr. Kleinberg said. "They are humorous but strategically relevant, using 'edutainment' to bring people into the story to learn about the brand."

One video has interviews with employees at a fictitious company talking about Bob, with comments such as, "Bob is legendary for creating the spreadsheet heard 'round the world," and "Bob balanced our budget like a double-jointed gymnast."

The videos also convey Bob's other talents -- that in addition to being an accounting whiz, he runs triathlons on weekends, plays on the company softball team and makes a perfect pot of coffee.

"We wanted to illustrate that Accountemps finds the perfect fit for any company," Mr. Kleinberg said.

Print and out-of-home ads contain headlines such as "Nobody rocks a spreadsheet like Bob rocks a spreadsheet," and drive users to the microsite, where they can learn more about Accountemps and the services it offers employers and job candidates. Accoutemps also used social media to drive users to the microsite, including paid ads on Facebook and promoted tweets.

"Advertising on Facebook made a big difference -- it got the videos in front of the relevant target audience, people clicked on the videos, shared them and talked about the campaign," Ms. Leach-Rouvi said. "In the majority of channels, we either met or outperformed our benchmarks."

The campaign generated an 18-fold increase in the number of people talking about Accountemps on Facebook and captured an eight-times increase in its Facebook fan base, she said. It also resulted in a 15% increase in engagement on Twitter.

"It definitely has had an impact on awareness, including positive sentiment we've had from the younger demographic," Ms. Leach-Rouvi said.

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