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Small Agency B-to-B Campaign of the Year, Gold: Simantel

'Are You Built for It?' for Caterpillar

By Published on .

A national shortage of skilled labor is causing trouble for American businesses, many of which rely on labor to keep their operations running smoothly. Caterpillar, one such company, is especially affected by the shortage, with 80% of its workforce made up of skilled technicians who service and support its equipment.

To ensure its workforce remains robust, Caterpillar turned to marketing and communications firm Simantel to develop a campaign meant to both recruit skilled technicians and attempt to change the perception of skilled work in the U.S. -- an effort that would bring it more qualified job candidates down the road if succesful.

For the campaign, Simantel turned to "Dirty Jobs" host and Caterpillar spokesman Mike Rowe, whose convictions about the value of hard work are well documented. The agency put Mr. Rowe at the center of Caterpillar's messaging, strengthening his praise of the "value of vocational work" with stories of real Caterpillar technicians. The effort included print, web, online video and more.

But the coup came via the publication of a book by Mr. Rowe, "Profoundly Disconnected: A True Confession From Mike Rowe." The book, focusing heavily on the value of work, landed Mr. Rowe on a smattering of TV talk shows including "Fox & Friends" and "The Dennis Miller Show." And his book tour culminated at the construction industry's largest trade show.

"The book was the result of a brainstorming session between Simantel, our Caterpillar client and Mike," said Maggie Whalen, exec creative director at Simantel. "This team loves to throw around ideas and push the limits of what is possible."

Overall, the campaign drove daily recruitment leads up by 290%, according to Simantel.

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