H&M makes a good impression with free suit hire

H&M makes a good impression with free suit hire

The Background

Finding yourself negotiating the job market in the past twelve months can only have been a stressful experience. 

It’s been a tough time and the unemployment rate only fell back for the first time since the pandemic began this March.

We all know how important first impressions are, and with the job market more competitive than ever, the importance of this will only have been heightened, let alone altered by the hybrid working world we now live in.

Outfit choices remain a key part of the experience, whether you are meeting in person, or over video call (shirt and tie up above, pyjamas down below?). 

This gave H&M the opportunity to engage with the emotive topic of job interviews and the ups and downs in confidence people encounter along the way.

The Big Idea

24-hour suit rental from H&M for interviews. 

Simple and helpful.

Ordering online, job hunters can get a navy suit, white shirt, navy tie and red handkerchief delivered to their door. After acing the interview, the suit needs returning to H&M to be dry cleaned and used by the next person.

What They Did

H&M launched the service as a limited time trial through its website with a campaign landing page that leads people to a simple ordering function.

This was accompanied by campaign photography, video and confidence boosting tips for men heading to interviews. The campaign video is directed by music video director Mark Romaneck and captures the nerves and preparation that goes into interview day. Featuring a voiceover with a mother’s message of good luck, the video captures the solo nature of preparing for a job interview and the boost that knowing others have your back can bring.

In addition, a range of media outlets also featured the initiative, including The Guardian and Independent, both of which covered the campaign as much more than simply a suit hire initiative. As The Guardian noted, “ONE/SECOND/SUIT feels like both a community-minded and savvy move from H&M”.

The campaign was also extended through OOH and store windows, leading to several tweets praising the campaign and being shared extensively from people that saw the window displays.

The Review

This campaign is a real hit for me. 

From a PR perspective the campaign is a winner from day one with a super clear message and simple execution. 

It could have run without anything else, but it’s those extra touches that really help take the campaign to the next level.

The craft in the campaign execution takes it from simple PR campaign to a fully integrated campaign that you connect with and want to share. The investment in the quality and story shown in the video, along with photography used, builds that feeling that H&M truly backs its customers and connects with what they’re going through.

In Hindsight

Discussing this campaign with colleagues over the past couple of weeks led to two key talking points. The first being cautiousness that is wholly male focused, and the second being around whether people wear suits to job interviews nowadays.

From a practical perspective you can understand why H&M has focused on men, there’s no one size fits all job interview outfit for women. Like with the mental health crisis, (which Uncommon’s also done great work around for ITV) there is a role for the brand to overcome the perception men can’t be nervous or unsure of themselves going into things like interviews. Through the addition of the video directed by Romaneck, H&M was able to address the emotional aspects of a job hunt and give itself a right to hone in on the male experience.

The debate around whether men wear suits for job interviews now or not does seem like an assumption made by those of us in London, and other big urban centres. Whilst in London and certain industries (like ours) a suit is almost a negative score on the first impression you make, it’s not the case elsewhere. Some industries expect a suit, which can be a barrier to some even getting a break, like banking. Ultimately the suit remains the failsafe outfit choice for an interview, and as the campaign photography shows, it can be styled in plenty of ways to suit the situation.

All in all, a positive, timely campaign that captures the zeitgeist when it comes to the knock in confidence a year of economic upheaval will have brought to many. It’ll be interesting to see if the campaign continues and where H&M takes things next.

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