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AbbVie Bay Area Goes Virtual to Woo Scientific Talent IRL

Audience Honor in 360 Video


Capture the attention and interest of innovative, scientific talent with an equally innovative approach to recruitment: using dazzling, groundbreaking tech to bring AbbVie’s Bay Area R&D facility to life.

Delivering world-class medicines to patients requires top-notch R&D talent. But there’s a critical shortage of scientist talent across the board, especially in the fierce market of the San Francisco Bay Area. Despite AbbVie’s newly constructed R&D facility in the birthplace of biotech, offering state-of-the-art labs, collaborative workspaces, and top-notch community amenities, limitations on in-person recruiting presented by the COVID-19 pandemic made reaching potential hires and sharing this amazing new facility, a very real challenge, especially for a relative newcomer to the Bay Area.

Strategy and Execution

Break-through with an attention-grabbing and immersive virtual experience.

We started with understanding our target audience: scientists. In-house data-informed persona development, including key moments of intent (e.g., finding the next great place to work, learning what it’s like to work at the company, having access to world-class facilities and equipment), key considerations (e.g., does the company share my values, will it be the right fit for me), and the right channels (the company website and LinkedIn). Informed by Talent Acquisition data, we conducted a qualitative review of top life science employers in the Bay Area and were able to pinpoint key competitors for talent. It became clear that we needed to take an innovative approach that would grab scientists’ attention and give them a real sense of what it would be like to work at AbbVie’s new facility, even during a pandemic, when in-person networking and IRL visits were extremely limited.

So, using ground-breaking technology to bring the new facility to life, we created a breathtaking aerial drone video and 360-degree virtual tour to bring the new facility to potential recruits as if IRL.

Continuous-shot acrobatic drone footage took viewers on an eagle-eye tour of the facility, starting with an external shot of the gleaming San Francisco Bay and top-floor sky view, diving down to the underground parking lot, through a moving car window, then swooping up the stairwell, and in and around research labs, equipment, hallways, workspaces, and conference rooms – highlighting important features of the facility along the way.

We meticulously planned the drone choreography, secured a world-class drone pilot, and conducted several practice runs with onsite team members (and door openers) to ensure timing and flow would go off without a hitch.

This dramatic aerial adventure tees up an interactive virtual tour and location guide. Shot with special 360-degree cameras, the tour allows visitors to intuitively navigate the building as if they are actually there, clicking on points of interest to learn more. Interconnected links lead visitors back to the landing page to explore job openings and learn more about life at the company.

For the virtual tour, we mapped out a detailed architecture and script highlighting key attributes and features, hired talent to serve as the interactive host, and shot new high-quality photography of the labs and facility to provide deeper-level clickable assets throughout the experience for potential talent to explore. 

The video and tour were promoted through targeted social campaigns that drove traffic to a new AbbVie Bay-Area-specific website landing page (a first for the company) where potential applicants could learn more about the R&D oncology work at the new facility and directly access local job openings.

Numerous challenges were faced and overcome along the way – from securing necessary drone permits due to SFO airport proximity and changing wind directions, to ongoing COVID restrictions and numerous biopharma medical, legal, and regulatory review requirements and steps throughout the process.


Even more impressive than the dazzling drone video and engaging inside peek offered by the virtual tour, were the results they helped deliver in terms of talent acquisition.

Campaigns on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, generated over 300,000 impressions and more than 14,500 engagements, with an average engagement rate of 5.25%, exceeding the industry standard of 2%. And more importantly, they reached the right audiences. The top demographic by job function were biotech users (85% of impressions and 79% of clicks) and research professionals (30% of impressions and 31% of clicks).

As a result, we drove quality traffic to our Bay Area landing page. In Q2 2022, the site saw over two thousand page views, a 311% increase compared to Q1 2022. The professional/career-focused platform of LinkedIn served as the highest contributing traffic source for the landing page, generating about 80% of all the traffic for the quarter. Most importantly, over half (55%) of the 1,400 clicks by visitors on the landing page were to the company’s job search page.

The impact on quality talent was real. The company has filled over 100% more local job openings this year compared to 2021. Based on recruitment successes, talent acquisition was able to reduce its dependence on outsourced job recruitment, saving critical company resources.


Video for AbbVie Bay Area Goes Virtual to Woo Scientific Talent IRL

Entrant Company / Organization Name

FleishmanHillard, AbbVie


Entry Credits