GOOTB-Ben-and-Nick-in-the-field-600x800What started out as a “give my own kid a summer job” strategy for CEO Peter George, ended up being one of the agency’s most successful self-promotional stunts. And it promises to be an ongoing youth outreach program that will help boost Manitoba tourism and help teens envision themselves in creative careers.

This past summer, the agency hired a small group of teenagers, aged 13 to 18, to document attractions and events in and around Winnipeg. They shared their videos, pictures and commentaries on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, and on, a website developed by the agency.

“Most kids in this group absolutely dread work. They see their parents trudging off to jobs that seem unfulfilling; living for the weekend…. It’s a huge burden for teens to face: “What am I going to do after high school?” says George.

“Our mission became to take a small group of high school students, get them out of their parents’ basements and show them that work can be fun, and that they already have skills that are useful in the workplace. We wanted them to walk away after the four-week program with a one-of-a-kind summer work experience that gave them in-demand skills and a new sense of confidence.”

The team produced, directed, shot, edited, wrote and starred in all their adventures and posted the work online to inspire other teens to get out of the basement in summer.

“It’s the best first job that one could hope for,” participant Ben Boxall, 16, told ShawTV Winnipeg in an interview.  “It’s like you get to be in an office, you get to use professional equipment and you get to go do stuff…. I’ve seen so many things that I normally wouldn’t go to … this summer if I wasn’t [here] I would pretty much be just at my house playing video games.”

Discussing the program during the team’s project wrap-up presentation to the agency, team member Nick George remarked, “As a first job it definitely did not suck.” His dad was quick to add, “I’ll take that as a compliment.”

The team and project were enthusiastically received by the community, and virtually every media outlet in Winnipeg covered the story.

Get Out Of The Basement was funded entirely by McKim to meet several market needs identified by the agency:

  • The trend for young people to be indoors throughout the summer months – a concern for parents
  • Lack of employment opportunities for high-school aged youth that provide opportunities for learning non-labourer work skills, improving social and interaction abilities, and utilizing personal interests in computers and social media
  • The opportunity to harness branded content strategies that promote local business, festivals, activities and attractions that might benefit from greater awareness and engagement from youth and parents.

“We offered Get Out Of The Basement to prove the concept, which not only achieved better-than-forecasted social engagement for teens, parents, media, agency and community, it also generated an inordinate amount of positive media exposure,” George said. “The best result of all was that it provided rewarding and valuable work experience for four young people that was well aligned with their interests and developing skills.”

George says corporate interest for sponsoring Get Out Of The Basement 2015 has been high. Several organizations have also contacted the agency about speaking engagements, and numerous parents and teenagers are waiting for a hiring announcement.

“And there will be,” says George. “We’re now planning what Get Out Of The Basement 2015 might look like. All I can say at this point is it will be even bigger and better.”

Stay tuned for announcements and job opportunities at