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What Caught My Eye: Movie Discounts for Redheads

By Peter Weddle, CEO TAtech

British redheads offered free cinema entry in national heat wave - The Washington Post

The “heat apocalypse” that’s new crushing temperature records in Europe led one U.K. company to make a radical offer. A week or two ago, the theatre chain Showcase Cinemas announced it was offering “Free tickets for redheads on the hottest days ever."

It was a limited 2-day special, but it had a whole lot of Britons tagging redheaded family and friends on social media so they could take advantage of the promotion. And with good reason. As news reports noted, “Research has found that people with pale skin, freckles and red hair are more at risk of developing skin cancer….”

The ostensible reason for the company’s generosity, of course, was the sweltering heat. Temperatures in the UK during that period were expected to reach 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Even worse, many stores and homes in Great Britain don’t have air conditioning as the average summer temperature there is just 64 degrees Fahrenheit. So, as the old saw goes, the theatre chain hoped to do well by doing good.

Was it successful?

Well, as is always the case these days, there were some naysayers on social media, but by-and-large, the company was hailed for its thoughtfulness and generosity. Indeed, the good new traveled much further than the company’s own announcement. For example, one redhead who has attracted an Instagram following in the thousands for her tips on managing what she calls “gingerrcurls,” immediately shared the offer with her audience.

Even better, the campaign produced an online phenomenon that would be every marketer’s dream. Redheads who had lost their hair asked if they could be included. So too did strawberry blondes. Others wondered if a red beard qualified, while still others speculated on how strict the chain would be in vetting and admitting patrons who claimed to be qualified. It was, in short, a “cool” promotion that made the theatre chain’s brand sizzle.

How could that be helpful to recruiters?

The promotion was modest at best in terms of its scale and cost, yet its impact on the company’s brand was huge. It steered clear of the serious tone adopted in traditional brand building efforts, and instead did something that was whimsical, out of the ordinary and perceived by most as a kind and helpful gesture. In short, it promoted Showcase Cinemas as a company with a heart, making it a more attractive employer as well as a great place for entertainment.

That’s an insight we should all consider as we reimagine our employment brands for the emerging world of work. Yes, of course, the brand should communicate a company’s culture and vision. But going beyond that by coloring outside the lines a bit can be equally as impactful. In fact, taking an alternative and more imaginative tact may well be among the best ways to differentiate a company. Done well, it can demonstrate innovation, creativity and a commitment to … well, to the expression of talent.

High performers in the workforce – those “A level players” every company covets – have choices. They are never job seekers; they are, instead, always job selectors. They have their pick of employers. And, in many maybe even most cases, they base their selection on the spirit of a company – the sense conveyed to them that the organization walks the talk about the importance of people.

Food for Thought,