Beco urges employers to 'steal our staff' and close disability employment gap

Campaign by TBWA\London encourages businesses to hire more people with disabilities.

Beco: soap packaging promotes real staff
Beco: soap packaging promotes real staff

Beco, the social enterprise with disabled people making up the majority of its workforce, is inviting businesses to steal its staff and help close the UK’s disability employment gap.

Launching today (Tuesday), the campaign by TBWA\London puts a twist on traditional recruitment ads by showing off real Beco employees with an appeal for other companies to headhunt them. It aims to challenge employers’ outdated attitudes towards people with disabilities. 

The unemployment rate for people with disabilities was 8% between January and March, compared with 3.3% for people without disabilities. There are an estimated 1.1 million disabled people in the UK who want to find a job.

Beco, which launched in 2018, makes environmentally friendly toiletries and 80% of its staff is disabled, visually impaired or disadvantaged.

The campaign will begin with a packaging takeover in Boots, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose, where the labels of Beco soap products will include the CVs of their employees. Press executions will comprise an open letter that urges businesses to hire more people with disabilities, while bespoke outdoor executions situated near high-profile companies will display the most relevant CVs for the targeted business.

A series of films, starring Beco employees, riff off TV’s audio-description function. For example, a scene of a blind man with his dog is accompanied by an AD voiceover that says "A man with a guide dog stands on the factory floor looking sad", to which the man responds: "Not as sad as the 1.1 million disabled people struggling to find work, voice man."

Beco is also sending personalised boxes of its products to influential media figures, chief executives and HR chiefs. Social media activity will target specific employers with the hashtag #StealOurStaff. 

Along with the activity, Beco’s website will share information to help employers actually steal its staff. It includes employees’ CVs with advice on hiring people with disabilities. TBWA partnered Scope, The Valuable 500, Open Inclusion and Virgin Media to compile the resources and the campaign is backed by Channel 4. 

The work was created by Dan Kenny, Duncan Brooks and Tom Gong, and directed by Dan Castella through Hoi Polloi. 

Beco founder Camilla Marcus-Dew told Campaign that challenges to closing the disability employment gap include misperceptions about people with disabilities and employers’ lack of preparedness, training or understanding.

Her vision is for Beco to act as a "feeder club" in business, with her employees moving on to new opportunities and serving as inspiration for other companies to hire more disadvantaged people. 

Marcus-Dew added: "We shouldn’t be the only business that gives jobs to people with disabilities. That’s why we’re on a mission to promote members of our amazing team to other employers in the hope that our talent will find new jobs and make way for Beco’s next generation of workers with disabilities."

TBWA’s debut campaign for Beco introduced the brand’s values with press ads in The Guardian.

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