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The Best and Worst Australian Government Recruitment Videos

It’s hard enough creating a recruitment campaign video. You’ve got to cover a diverse range of different roles in an organisation, overlay this with your Employee Value Proposition and do it all in a creative way that achieves cut through. 


If that wasn’t hard enough think of the added challenge of creating a recruitment video in the Government space. 


In the Government sector, one of the biggest challenges is battling the perception that Government careers lack innovation and are stale. This perception is false on many levels. 


Government careers are like those in any other industry featuring their own spectrums of challenge, culture and pay grade. Some of our most accomplished and satisfied placements were within the Government Executive recruitment space. 


Then, there’s the creative element challenge. A brand like Calvin Klein has fewer restrictions in terms of positions (or provocations!) it can take to achieve cut-through in an already very noisy market. 


That hasn’t prevented some stellar campaigns in recent years by departments such as the Australian Defence Force (more below) for hitting campaigns out of the park. 


Unfortunately for every standout campaign, there’s often a magnitude of those that miss the mark, often hitting a stratosphere of virality for all the wrong reasons! 

The Best Australian Government Recruitment Video: 7 Days in The Navy.

Few other employers offer the opportunity to travel the world whilst acquiring skills and qualifications in a trade or profession. However, for those people who have no idea of the diverse nature of a career in Navvy (likely most of us) the idea of being on a submarine for weeks at a time could sound monotonous. 


The 7 Days in the Navy campaign by Defence Jobs Australia is one of their most popular videos ever. Sure, it was published six years ago, but it received over 1.1 million views since its launch. The video did a great job at countering perceived sentiments while promoting the Navy’s unique selling points. 


Summary lessons from the ‘7 Days in the Navy’ Campaign.

  • Authenticity is key
  • Promote roles’ key unique selling points (USPs) 
  • Keep your target audience in mind

Most people are pretty immune to advertising that tells them how good an offer is. Defence Australia instead tries to show its audience, not tell, just how diverse and action-packed a week in the Navvy can be. 

The hand-held style of shooting plays into this sense of authenticity and it doesn’t feel overly produced or polished.

The campaign clearly promotes the USPs of the role; adventure, an active lifestyle, travel – all while doing important, rewarding work. 

Finally, this video isn’t trying to attract “indoorsy types” or a corporate persona. The shooting style and action-packed imagery appeal well to the intended targeted audience. 

The Worst Australian Government Recruitment Video: The Game-Changers Campaign.

Some have described it as possibly the worst recruitment ad ever and that’s saying a lot considering we gave the world the A$180 million ‘So where the bloody hell are you?’ campaign. 

The objective, as stated by the Department of Finance, of “attracting and selecting a strong, highly capable and diverse graduate cohort..” was evident. Unfortunately, the execution missed the mark. 


The core problem with the ad is simple: it tried to be authentic but ended up being a little awkward. 

Like the Defence Australia campaign, the advertisers tried to instil a level of authenticity but the mode they utilised, was scripted, in-situ style conversations, as opposed to a behind-the-scenes authenticity. Unfortunately, authenticity can’t be scripted, and we should not be trying to force it. 

As Dee Madigan, creative director of Campaign Agency said best: “This idea that you have to show the target market to appeal to them is incorrect. Having people in situ having fake conversations has very little cut-through.” 


The other issue was the attempt at cramming the diversity and inclusivity offerings that Government do so well, into a 3-minute video. The result is a product that lacks a real employee value proposition or unique selling points in terms of why a graduate might want to work there. 

Fortunately for us, there are great lessons to be learned! 



Summary lessons from the ‘game-changers’ campaign.

  • Authenticity can’t be faked or scripted
  • Avoid cramming too many messages into one piece of comms
  • Keep your target audience in mind!

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