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Recruiting campaign wins first prize in Germany(DEFEKT LINK NR3)

June 20, 2006, 15:00 CEST

First prize and honors went to Hydro and advertising agency DDB when the 2006 Columbus prize was awarded in Duisburg, Germany, on Monday night. Hydro won first prize for its advertising campaign to capture skilled engineers "who like to think big."

The awards ceremony is hosted by engineering magazine, VDI nachrichten, a premier source of listings for engineering job openings in Germany. Close to 140 entries from 65 companies were sent in to the 2006 Columbus Prize competition, which held every other year.

The four advertisements representing Hydro play on the expression "We’re looking for people who think big" and show, for example, a sandbox with an elaborate sandcastle and a child’s room with a huge paper airplane. The ads are an extension of Hydro’s slogan that "It’s okay to think big in a small country."

The Hydro ad with the paper plane won first prize in the "Young professionals" category. Second and third prizes were won, respectively, by Deutsche Bahn AG and BMW Group.

"We will now actively use the ads to employ engineers from around the world. The goal is to attract relevant expertise and the ads will help us to achieve that goal. To win this prize in competition with Germany’s and some of the world’s best-known companies in the toughest market conditions in years is a big honor!" says Kjerstin Skeidsvoll Lange, project manager of recruiting and profiling in Oil & Energy.

Crosses boundaries

The prize jury commented that the "bold message" of the Hydro ad "not only crosses boundaries but sets a new standard. Good solutions can be found, but some are better than others. The ad evoke a fantasy to create something bigger and better together with others – and that appeals to the reader. Realize your ideas together with Hydro."

The competition has an esteemed status in Germany. A number of well-known global companies participate in the Columbus competition.

There’s is a big gap between today’s international market and young skilled engineers from the Germany’s institutions of higher learning. Of course companies want to attract young talent – and capture their attention and imaginations through creative advertising, says Lange.

Facts about the Columbus prize – "Columbus Personal Anzeigen Award"

  • The competition is held every other year for the best personnel advertisements for engineers. Companies from all industries and media agencies are encouraged to send in their best ads during the past two years.
  • The arranger, German magazine VDI nachrichten, seeks to show the best way to attract engineers during a time with an engineer shortage.
  • There are three categories, Young Professionals, Professionals and Image advertisements. Imperative to win is creativity, communications quality, ability to attract attention, text concept, graphic artwork and focus.
  • The jury is comprised of experts with different backgrounds.

See the ads in Hydro's recruiting campaign (PDF):

"Paper airplane" 
"Doll's house"