Category Direct
Subcategory Other
Entrant agency OMD Germany
Client Evonik Industries AG
Brand Evonik Industries AG
Product/service Employer Branding
Release date 14.09.2016
Other agency OMG Fuse

Evonik has gold-plated innovation credentials, holding the European record of 25,000 patents with products hidden e.g. inside airplanes - as invisible as their existence to Millennials: only 8% of German students think of Evonik when asked about chemical companies, well behind the two industry leaders.Millennials entering the job market are unicorns: skittish, wary, but magical if you can catch them. But everyone else is after them. Tech-savvy and hungry for challenge (31% like to be pushed to the max), unicorns value innovation over anything else when choosing an employer (78%). Our challenge: turn around the way students perceive Evonik and prove to them that the company is creative, innovative – just the right place for our target group.

German Millennials are hooked on the TV show Dragon’s Den where entrepreneurs pitch their business in under two minutes to persuade backers to invest. It has a unique appeal, because when it comes to being succinct (which the show relies on) Germans are at the back of the pack, and they know it. We designed an elevator pitch situation, a playful nod to the staple business myth of selling an idea in an extremely confined space and time. It challenged students to abandon the national tendency toward lengthy explanations to sell a product innovation in under two minutes. Evonik could use entertaining elements of the “elevator pitch” and exciting digital experiences to change its image and capture the unicorns.

We sent the custom-built Evonik Elevator on a tour to prestigious German universities and posed students a real challenge: all they saw was a metal box with HD screens inside recreating the illusion of an actual elevator ride. Students stepped inside and were handed an Evonik product idea with a fake name that they’d never seen before. The participant had exactly 100 seconds to sell it inside the elevator while getting hints and tips over the main touchscreen. At the same time, their pitch was uploaded to a microsite other students could access. This is where contenders became brand-ambassadors by activating their communities. Every vote for their Personal Elevator Pitch on the microsite got the participants closer to winning big prizes.

A little buzz went a long way. We squeezed 361 students into our elevator. Not only are they top contenders and talents, they all went on and activated their like-minded community. With 1.5 million impressions in social media the voting mechanism alone generated 15% earned media, leading to 3.5K interactions with our microsite. The proof that a fun challenge can be impactful: unaided awareness jumped from 8% to 12% between December 2015 and December 2016; general awareness grew from 65% to 71% over the same period. The campaign shifted brand perception: students saw Evonik as innovative (59%) and modern (63%). Interest in working for Evonik soared to 33% for those exposed to the elevator pitch – three times higher than non-exposed.