McDonald’s puts friendship at the core of recruitment

In its latest teen-focused effort, the QSR promotes itself as a 'modern and progressive' workplace.

Fast-food gigs are often an entry point for employment-seeking youth.

After several years of advertising to that demo in recruitment campaigns, McDonald’s Canada has once again put a fresh-faced image forward in a bid to bring more youth behind the counter of its restaurants.

The QSR worked with agency Cossette on a series of ads that places friendship at the centre of its employment pitch, a move that acknowledges that more teens are likely to apply for a job if it comes with the added perk of working alongside friends.

With OMD on media, “Friends Wanted” includes several spots of varying lengths on YouTube, such as one 15-second video of two boys discussing party plans for the weekend. Another 6-second ad shows the same two boys giggling at their classic teenage prank: retrofitting their name tags to read “Mick Chiggen” and “Chris P. Nugget.” With that comes a 30-second commercial portraying the boys fulfilling a young girl’s unusual order: an egg McMuffin minus the egg, cheese and English muffin.

In short, McDonald’s is suggesting good times are to be had working in fast-food.

The goal, according to an agency press release, is to help McDonald’s stand out in the crowded youth employment market, encourage applications and to paint a picture of a company that is “modern and progressive” in its hiring practices.

To help back up that claim, McDonald’s is allowing prospective candidates to apply with a friend through an online application form. It will also be giving store owners and operators additional assets to pilot as part of the campaign, including digital and print ads, tray liners and crew stickers. This follows the brand’s “Snapplications” one-day virtual hiring activation on March 27, which allowed job seekers to apply via Snapchat.

The burger chain has been actively spotlighting youth in its marketing for several years, when it launched its “Welcome to McDonald’s” campaign. Other efforts, including Cossette’s “We Believe In Canadian Youth” in 2017, have put a similar positive spin on youth employment.

This year’s push comes as youth employment rates continue to rise, leading to possible increased competition among employers. The unemployment rate among youth declined for the third consecutive month in March, dropping to 10.7%. Historically, the rate has hovered around 14% (between 1982 and 2019), reaching an all-time low of 10.3% in September 2017, according to Trading Economics.