We’ve already seen brands and advertisers start to play around with the pre-roll advertising slot, including the award winning VML campaign to track missing persons in Australia. Now, UK charity, BITC, is turning its pre-roll ad over to the viewer to decide how much of an opportunity they are willing to give an ex-offender applying for a new job.
The video, “Second Chance”, opens with a young man, recently released from prison, talking directly to camera as if being interviewed. He takes the time to explain his circumstances and the steps he’s taken to get himself back into the job market. At various points within the video, the viewer is given the option to skip the ad, and each time they do so the video restarts at the same place. However, the more the viewer skips, the more despondent the man gets as he realises his side of the story isn’t being listened to because of the preconceptions of the viewer. If the viewer hits the skip button enough, he stops trying altogether. The point being, ex-offenders can be written off by prospective employers in a matter of seconds so is the viewer willing to listen or take the same course of action?
The ad, created by London agency Leo Burnett, aims to raise awareness of a petition from the BITC to remove the tickbox on job application forms that ask for information regarding previous convictions. They claim that removing the option will prevent any prejudice against the person making the application. Hugh Todd, Creative Director at Leo Burnett, said of the campaign:
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.