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How to apply A&W’s newest unique hiring strategy to your own business

(BUSINESS) You don’t have to be the biggest brand on the block to think differently about your hiring practices. Getting creative with hiring, like A&W!


Unless you’re still living under a pandemic rock, you’ve probably noticed the plethora of help wanted ads. The shockwaves of the Great Resignation haven’t faded yet and many businesses are paying the price for the labor shortage. One such company, A&W, has decided to switch gears in order to stop hemorrhaging employees and attract new workers. Per Adweek, they’ve partnered up with two marketing companies, Coomer and Cornett. A&W is typically found in small towns and their new campaign is a reflection of their audience.

A&W’s newest ad campaign, titled the “Anti-Celebrity Meal”, opposes that of its competitors’ celebrity champions by promoting their own workforce. One employee is selected to participate in a photoshoot, hair and makeup included, for the ad campaign. Their images will be used in ads for digital and social media, window posters, yard signs, and uniform T-shirts at their hometown stores.

Eliminating the fees for retaining a celebrity will likely save A&W a gargantuan amount of money, but are the employees receiving any financial rewards for participation? What happens at the end of their employment? Or, yikes, what if they make a choice that reflects poorly on the chain? While the possible answers to these questions could pose problems for the future of the campaign, A&W’s bold approach proves that even if you’re not the biggest fish in the pond, you can set yourself apart.

The campaign serves two strategic purposes. One, it starts a broad conversation highlighting the connection between celebrity endorsements and business while simultaneously stating that they are different from the Raising Cane’s down the road, though they have some hiring tricks up their sleeves too. The second, it sets them apart from the other restaurant chains hiring by a sense of local pride and responsibility. Many A&W restaurants are in small towns where the employee would be easily recognizable. Their ad copy, found on the @AWrestaurants Instagram account, highlights the local community sentiment of their message. It states, “Unlike other chains, we don’t need movie and music stars — we’ve got our fave celebs right here in our restaurants”.  Paying tribute to employees is a natural, logical step in today’s workforce. Hopefully, for A&W, it’s not too little, too late.

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Jessica Martin escaped from Texas to Austin to receive her degree in English from the University of Texas. When she isn't writing, you can find her outside playing with her kids, camera in hand.

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