Street Talk

Street Talk: Alexa, find me a job

OOH, baby!

September 27, 2019
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It looks like James Berg and Steve Stephan will have some AI competition in the hiring sector.

Berg, managing partner of Essence Restaurant Group, and Stephan, owner of several West Michigan Culver’s franchises, lament the lack of bodies to fill positions in the restaurant industry for a story on page 1 of today’s Business Journal.

Now, the local restaurateurs will have to do battle with the largest fast-food chain and its newest hiring ally.

As McDonald’s of Michigan prepares to hire 9,600 people this fall, the company is turning to a familiar name to make that process easier: Alexa.

Amazon’s virtual assistant, Alexa, is helping with the first step of McDonald’s restaurant job applications.

A voice-initiated application process, McDonald’s Apply Thru, is available today as part of the recently launched Made at McDonald’s global hiring campaign.

“We must continue to innovate and think of creative, and in this case, groundbreaking ways to meet potential job seekers on devices they are already using, like Alexa,” said David Fairhurst, executive vice president and chief people officer at McDonald’s. “Alexa has many of the qualities we look for on our teams — friendly, responsive and fun. I am looking forward to having our application process simplified with Alexa.”

Job candidates can kick off the process by saying, “Alexa, help me get a job at McDonald’s.”

They also can use any device equipped with Google Assistant by saying, “OK, Google, talk to McDonald’s Apply Thru.”

As the Apply Thru is further developed for Google Assistant, applying for a job will be activated by saying, “OK, Google, help me get a job at McDonald’s.”

After activating McDonald’s Apply Thru, users can answer a few basic questions ranging from their name, type of job interest and location. Potential applicants will receive a text message shortly afterward with a link to continue their application process.

“Alexa makes life easier, and we’re thrilled to see McDonald’s utilize voice to create a simpler, more convenient job application process for customers,” said Steve Rabuchin, vice president, Alexa.

Apply Thru is part of the company’s larger Made at McDonald’s campaign, which highlights all the opportunities a first job, part-time job or lifelong career at McDonald’s can create.

According to a recent survey by McDonald’s, in the U.S., 128,401 McDonald’s crew members have gone on to become nurses, 489,302 have made a career teaching and 2,403,460 have become entrepreneurs.

McDonald’s and its independent franchisees provide jobs for almost 2 million people across the world.

Rest easy

Metro Health – University of Michigan Health is offering two new treatments for sleep apnea, a potentially dangerous interruption of breathing that affects more than 18 million Americans.

Common symptoms include snoring, gasping during sleep, frequent waking, excessive daytime sleepiness, decreased attention, dry mouth or headaches when waking.

The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea, which is when the airway collapses during sleep. Central sleep apnea is a disorder in which the brain fails to signal breathing muscles during sleep.

Metro Heath’s new treatment for CSA, the Respicardia remedē System, is designed to restore the signal from the brain. An implantable therapy approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the system monitors and stabilizes the breathing pattern throughout the night. It works by stimulating a nerve that controls the diaphragm just as the brain does.

“This is an exciting development,” said Dr. Matthew Sevensma, who performed the state’s first remedē procedure on Aug. 1 at Metro Health. “As a cardiologist, I’ve seen the connection between heart disease and sleep apnea. This is an innovative way to address risk factors, reduce daytime drowsiness and improve overall quality of life.”

Following a referral by Metro Health pulmonologist Dr. Timothy Daum, Sevensma implanted the device during a minimally invasive outpatient procedure. The device is activated 30 days later. In a clinical study, 91% of CSA patients saw a reduction in the number of sleep apnea events.

OSA often is treated by use of the mask-and-hose system commonly called CPAP – an acronym for continuous positive airway pressure. As an alternative for patients unable or unwilling to use the CPAP devices, Metro Health now offers Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation.

The Inspire system is an FDA-approved implantable device that uses mild stimulation to keep the airway open. It is inserted under the skin during an outpatient procedure, and patients use a small handheld remote to turn it on before bed.

Metro Health is able to offer this option through its affiliation with Michigan Medicine. Suitable candidates will be referred to ENT-otolaryngologist Dr. Matthew Spector for the procedure.

“I’m thrilled that we are able to offer therapies for both obstructive and central sleep apnea that do not involve wearing a mask,” Daum said. “Patients have been asking for these options for years, and we are now able to offer them effective and safe alternatives.”

The National Institutes of Health notes untreated sleep apnea can contribute to serious conditions, such as heart attack, glaucoma, diabetes, cancer and cognitive and behavioral disorders.

Keepin’ it real

When Grand Rapids fashion designer RC Caylan recently made a foray to New York Fashion Week, little did he know that he’d be blazing a trail for other Grand Rapids creatives to tout their bona fides in the Big Apple.

Extra Credit Projects, an award-winning advertising agency based in Grand Rapids, created a stir at Advertising Week New York last week with the launch of OOH is Real, a massive media campaign for the Out of Home Advertising Association of America (OAAA). With more than 200 messages in dozens of locations in and around Times Square and AMC Lincoln Square 13, the campaign was an immersive experience that exhibited the real-life impact of out of home (OOH) advertising.

“OOH ads can’t be blocked, skipped or viewed by bots. People respond to what is authentic — and saying the right thing at the right time, in real life — does that,” said Rob Jackson, principal of Extra Credit Projects.

Jackson said strategic media placement and vibrant, interruptive messaging characterize the campaign, pointing viewers to the positive relationship between OOH and digital web advertising. When paired together in a media plan, he the mediums complement and amplify one another to make a real impact.

OAAA Chief Marketing Officer Stephen Freitas said, “The goal of the campaign is to demonstrate to media and marketing executives the power of OOH to create immersive brand experiences in the real world. Using billboards, buses, bus shelters, LinkNYC kiosks, taxi tops, wrapped vehicles, and digital place-based screens, this campaign proves OOH’s targetability, viewability and accountability.”

A wrapped double-decker bus featuring the headline, “Next stop:reality,” sat outside of the Ad Week venue, serving as a mobile lounge where attendees could talk with OOH ambassadors about leveraging the medium in today’s digitally driven landscape.

Following its debut for Ad Week, the campaign rolls out nationwide.

OAAA is the national trade association for the OOH industry and promotes the responsible growth of OOH for 800-plus members.

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