Dstl Unexpected Science

You might not know about Dstl. 

Not many do.

And that's the problem.

Their full name is the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory.
Basically, they use science to create technologies for people who help to protect the UK. Our brief was to tell digitally-savvy Millennials about Dstl’s Early Careers opportunities.

Penna have always been responsive, creative and proactive in their approach.

Paula Thick, Early Careers Resourcing Adviser - Resource & Talent Planning

But there were a couple of problems. We couldn’t mention 99% of their top secret work. And since they’re a government organisation we couldn’t just rock on up to the internet and set up new website promoting jobs. So what do you do?

You get all unexpected.

We lovingly crafted a bold new brand (Unexpected Science). Then, we went about finding somewhere to show people. After a spot of research, we decided Facebook would be the social shelf of choice.

We had the perfect platform to advertise all of the roles. Plus we could create interactive content that wouldn’t cost the world. This included infographics, videos and a handy careers matcher tool, which helped people discover the perfect role based on their degree choice.

On top of that, we had a Q&A session on the page, campus activity and a rather unexpected giveaway of mustard seeds. Mustard seeds? It’s best you watch the video. A nice departure from the ‘random pen’ that you might pick up.

Did it work? For an organisation that was pretty much unknown in the university community, it was remarkable. Page likes are up to 2,274 as of today (watch out Buzzfeed), over 2,000 interactions, and an average weekly reach of 12,000 users – all of which was organic.

Now, an innovative Facebook campaign is all well and good, but how did it affect applications? Well, there was an 18.6% increase in graduate appointments; accepted offers were up from 67% to 87%. And 46.63% of hires were female, which is an impressive result as the roles advertised were in traditionally male-dominated fields.


Page likes


Increase in graduate appointments


Accepted offers


Female hires


  • Social Media

  • Graduate Recruitment

  • Data & Insight