MI5 spies the benefits of a more diverse candidate pool

MI5's campaign with Penna focuses on changing perceptions, increasing the number of applicants from ethnic minorities, female candidates and people with disabilities.

Year: 2023
Achievement/category: Shortlisted in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
Client: MI5
Agency: Penna
Industry: Law enforcement and security

About the campaign

To keep the people, businesses, and communities within the UK safe, MI5 relies on talent from all kinds of backgrounds. Its Intelligence Officer Development Programme (IODP) offers individuals the training, experience and support needed for a career as a fully-fledged IO. Traditionally, it has attracted males from white backgrounds (with a steady increase in the number of women). MI5 wanted to attract more students and graduates from Black heritage backgrounds, and it needed a campaign that would change their perceptions of the organisation.

‘Protect what matters to you most’ was a three-phase campaign, beginning with awareness. Penna created short stories based on real-life experiences of what mattered to the audience, distributing via posts on Meta, Google, Instagram, Bright Network, LinkedIn and Pinterest. The second phase was engagement, inviting candidates to vote in a range of social media polls; and the third was conversion, with dynamic ads pushing out application cut-off dates and events.

Because of the sensitive nature of the organisation, we can’t share any figures. However, results were extremely positive. In fact, the media campaign was so successful it was closed a week early having already hit the target.