Case study

Our work



Competition in The Times Top 100 is intense; and for the last few years, Unlocked had struggled to move up the rankings. Achievement Unlocked was a campaign primarily focused on changing that (as well as helping to fulfil ongoing recruitment for the programme). In all, it delivered – and delivered spectacularly: Unlocked was the highest climber in the TT100, rising from 67 to 22.

Unlocked Graduates is a graduate programme designed to break cycles of reoffending by recruiting, training and challenging outstanding individuals to work as frontline prison officers for two years alongside achieving a Masters. It is an amazing leadership programme, but often students don’t know that with Unlocked you can have it all – a career with purpose and great benefits.

Play the Game


Central to our strategy was maximising personal interactions between students and brand ambassadors. We looked at the High Fliers process and made a conscious effort to boost ambassador numbers at key universities, and used social media influencers to reach campuses outside the campaign trail. A partnership with The Crowd agency supplemented the existing Unlocked brand ambassador cohort.

The concept

Achievement Unlocked tapped into the world of retro video gaming – a world familiar to Gen Z, of whom 80%+ game at least once a week – as we built a bespoke digital Whack-to-Win game to be the digital counterpart to the existing Unlocked locker game campus installation. The pixelated, retro campaign identity (think original Legend of Zelda) had a distinct character which maintained the strength of the Unlocked brand. The campaign emphasised the opportunity for accomplishment and growth with Unlocked, embedding a sense of progress in the messaging. Achievement Unlocked: A purposeful career with great benefits.

On-campus execution

The digital Whack-to-Win game gave our ambassadors a hook for memorable engagement with students on campus. In the game, we replaced moles with benefits, so students learned about the programme while pursuing the Deliveroo voucher that awaited the weekly leader-board topper. The physical installation was the campus focal point, where students could talk to the Unlocked team and learn about job opportunities. With Unlocked team members running the booth and Brand Ambassadors roaming campus with an invitation to play, Unlocked had a significant campus footprint.

Social media campaign

Instagram was the primary vehicle for social engagement, featuring stories from campus days and operating as the weekly winner announcement platform – a great tool for attracting followers. We also partnered with two student influencers with strong local presence on their TikTok page. With one influencer in one week alone, we had over 51k video views and 740 new students clicking through to the game, geolocated across all of the High Flier universities.

How did this benefit Unlocked?

  • Increase in rankings improves visibility to a more diverse audience of students
  • Purpose is important to Gen Z, and we showed that you don’t have to sacrifice good benefits to work for a purposeful organisation
  • Boosted brand awareness across the country
45 Places
The highest riser in TT100 rankings from 67th to 22nd
4687 game plays from 1300 unique players
1061 student interactions with the installation