SAS takes graduates into account for Ernst & Young

Accounting firm Ernst & Young, one of the UK’s biggest recruiters, is launching a revamped graduate marketing programme by SAS, designed to challenge the ‘cynicism’ with which graduates eye potential employers.

Accounting firm Ernst & Young, one of the UK’s biggest recruiters, is launching a revamped graduate marketing programme by SAS, designed to challenge the ‘cynicism’ with which graduates eye potential employers.

The work, which rolls out from this week across universities, includes a website, brochures, exhibition stands, posters and on-campus brand building exercises. Copywriting is by independent copywriter Tim Rich, who worked closely with SAS managing director Jeremy Sice.

The material is aimed primarily at students entering their final year of study, and aims to challenge ‘clichéd perceptions’ of recruitment programmes, says Sice.

The consultancy’s brief was to help Ernst & Young ‘attract the right type of candidates’, he says. Research undertaken by SAS showed recruiters ‘face a graduate audience that understands little about the world of business, can’t tell the difference between employers and is highly cynical of any marketing hype’, he explains.

‘By using honest, humorous and non-corporate language, we have tried to challenge the conventions of graduate marketing,’ says Sice. ‘Programmes are usually samey and over-hyped. Students want something cheeky and challenging, and we’ve tried to play on clichés in the market.’

The work features ‘pared-down, straight-forward quotes’ such as ‘Think you’re the right type? We don’t recruit types’, says Sice. ‘Iconic, hero images of chinless wonders with a halo-effect offer a rose-tinted view of the stereotypical “type”, juxtaposed with hard-hitting text. The writing is critical.’

‘We weren’t communicating properly, and graduates weren’t believing what we were telling them,’ says Ernst & Young director of resourcing Stevan Rolls. ‘We chose SAS because it placed a strong emphasis on research and challenged us in our thinking.’

‘Key to the work was to offer a true and fair reflection of what it would be like to work for Ernst & Young,’ says Sice.

SAS was appointed in March after an unpaid creative pitch against four unnamed groups.

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