NHS kicks off recruitment campaign amid coronavirus pandemic

This is the third instalment of the 'We are the NHS' campaign by MullenLowe.

The NHS has launched its biggest recruitment drive amid England’s second coronavirus lockdown. 

“Then, now, always” is the third annual instalment of the “We are the NHS” campaign, created by MullenLowe Group UK, and issues a call to arms for people to join the institution. The ad features real people, patients and medical situations, while looking back on the NHS from its foundation 72 years ago to the present day. 

The drive aims to recruit nurses, allied health professionals and healthcare support workers as the Covid-19 pandemic puts increased pressure on the service. It also targets young people who are leaving school and paints the NHS as a modern, innovative employer to inspire the next generation. 

The campaign will run from September to March across TV, radio, social media, CRM and display. Out-of-home ads, which were a winning submission in the Ocean Outdoor Crucial Creative Competition, will show in real time what is happening within the NHS.

Additional activity, including PR, partnerships and specialist communications aimed at black, Asian and minority-ethnic communities, will run until March 2021. 

The work was created by Lovisa Silburn and Nick Bell, and directed by Ed Morris through Riff Raff Films. Mediahub UK handled media planning and Manning Gottlieb OMD was responsible for media buying. MullenLowe Profero developed the CRM campaign and digital transformation of the NHS’ careers website. 

Phil Bastable, deputy director and head of campaigns and social media at NHS England and NHS Improvement, said: “In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the NHS has played a pivotal role in protecting the health of people and their families. We are now looking for the next generation of the NHS workforce. Through the ‘We are the NHS’ campaign – now in its third year – we are looking to attract thousands of new nurses, allied health professionals and healthcare support workers, in order to ensure the service continues to play that vital role for generations to come.”

Lovisa Silburn, creative director at MullenLowe London, added: “After everything the NHS has been through these last months, we felt the pressure to take the work to another level and, with this brief, we had the opportunity to tell a greater story. We wanted this film to show just how special the NHS is, to raise the hairs on the backs of people’s necks and inspire thousands to consider a career with this special institution. You could say this film has been 72 years in the making.”


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