Ticking the box to confirm that you have a criminal conviction can be the death knell for many a job applicant. In a new campaign for Business in the Community’s (BITC) Ban the Box initiative, Leo Burnett Change - the non-profit arm of the global marketing firm – created a fake Youtube ad that uses the ‘skip’ button as a metaphor for the way employers skip over ex-convicts as candidates.
The video appears to be an ad with a young ex-convict stating his case for getting a job. After five seconds, the usual Skip Ad button appears, but should a viewer choose to click the button, the video will merely start over again. Each time the button is pressed, the candidate becomes more despondent and desperate in his plea to have someone listen to him. Should viewers choose not to skip and hear his whole message, they will see him grow increasingly confident as he speaks about getting a job.
Speaking about the inspiration behind the video, Hugh Todd, creative at Leo Burnett said:
With the subject of ex-offenders being such a contentious issue, we wanted to create a thought-provoking idea. Something that would make people re-assess how they feel towards ex-offenders. Using and subverting the ‘skip ad’ button gave us the perfect opportunity to do this.
The Ban the Box initiative is a campaign by BITC to remove the checkbox for criminal convictions from job application forms in the UK. Employment has been shown to reduce the chances of reoffending, but can be difficult for ex-cons to get, and hence they end up reoffending. BITC hopes the film will make people reconsider this Catch-22 and view it in a new light.
Explains Edwina Hughes, Reducing Re-offending Campaign Manager for BITC:
[The film] cleverly and emotively underlines the experience someone with a criminal conviction may have when they seek to put their offending behind them and get a job.