This was a creative campaign that went to the heart of the business, dealing very positively with a sensitive subject by engaging with the easyJet staff first and involving them in the story before going out to the market and the media. The campaign was well-executed and achieved coverage for easyJet across general interest and consumer channels, as well as saying something to the #metoo movement.


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Winner entry:

Brief and objectives:

The global airline business is threatened with a pilot shortage as supply fails to keep up with passenger demand. In addition, the industry has had a long-standing problem attracting women to consider a career as a pilot. Shockingly they account for just one in 20 of the world’s pilots.

Since 2015, easyJet has been actively encouraging more women to take to the skies and by 2020 has ambitious targets to double the number of female pilot entrants. EasyJet has been doing better than most, but in 2018 the company really wanted to pull back the throttle with its recruitment, broadening and deepening its outreach to potential trainees.

Our task was to land an engaging recruitment campaign that would speak to new female talent, that they too could become high-fliers. To drive a spike in applicants, it must deliver coverage at scale and work across news and social media touchpoints.

The idea, research and planning:

The narrative from books, school career offices and pop culture tell the same tired story – piloting is largely considered as a “job for the boys”. We put this to the test commissioning a study of 549 easyJet pilots and found that, from a young age, boys were 50% more likely than girls to consider a career as a pilot.

In order to shift deep-rooted perceptions, we needed create a striking piece of content that would resonate with women and capture the attention of the media.

Strategy, tactics, creativity and innovation:

Nowhere is the image of the male pilot more entrenched than in movies. Pretty much every aviation blockbuster features a man at the controls in the cockpit. Hits such as Top Gun, The Aviator and even the Star Wars films have contributed to embedding this perception for decades.

Our desk based research revealed that 99% of aeroplane movies feature male pilots. So, how best to fix the perception promoted by Hollywood? Turn to Hollywood of course. We would reimagine the famous scene from Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can in which pilot Leonardo DiCaprio struts across an airport concourse flanked by female cabin crew.

In our recruitment film (produced in house at Taylor Herring) we would turn the tables by placing children into those starring roles – and a young girl would take the lead as the pilot.


To give extra depth and strength to the story, we opted away from casting child actors. Our ‘Leonardo’ was to be played by nine-year-old Hannah Revie, the daughter of a female easyJet captain, Emily Revie. For our film young Hannah mimics DiCaprio’s swagger whilst being flanked by an entourage of boys dressed as crew, also played by children of easyJet staff. Casting was done through EasyJet’s intranet after we asked for video submissions.

Working with young actors is always a challenge, but to additionally embrace a cast with no acting experience was an even more intrepid move. Yet it was one which we knew would strengthen the story. A further dimension of difficulty was created by shooting in a busy airport at peak travel season, with just four hours to get the famous scene just right. Our charming, polished and instantly recognisable homage was issued to media, along with the results of our pilot study and Captain Emily Revie was spokesperson for the campaign.

We created a range of different edits for easyJet’s social media channels including Instagram stories.

Measurement and evaluation:

Interest was sky high. We generated more than 180 high-value news articles including ITV, Channel 5, BBC Radio, The Sun, Daily Star, Daily Mail, iNews, The Guardian, Metro, and The Scotsman. A five-minute package featuring Hannah and Emily went out on the ITV lunchtime news. The coverage was 100% positive in sentiment and landed key messages, with many of the stories including a direct link to the easyJet careers page.

The recruitment video received over 1.3 million views across various channels with 95% positive engagement from viewers. The film was easyJet’s top performing shared video on Facebook and Instagram in 2018 (outperforming on engagement metrics by 50%). Traffic to the recruitment page increased by 4000% within 24 hours of launch. The campaign set social media timelines abuzz and over 2 million Twitter impressions were generated in the first 24 hours alone.

Customers and airline industry representatives heaped praise on the initiative, with glowing comments filling easyJet’s social timelines. Coverage was not confined to the UK. International attention came from Germany, France, Spain, Austria and The Netherlands.

Budget and campaign impact:

As a direct result of the campaign, we helped easyJet reach a key milestone in its target. In all, 15% of entrants over the past year were women, up from 6% in 2015.

The airline has hired more than 50 women this year, increasing numbers by more than a third to give over 200 female pilots.