NS (Dutch Railways)



Campaigns, Content & SocialWeb, App & Conversational
The future of recruitment gets a retro twist  — The future of recruitment gets a retro twist  — The future of recruitment gets a retro twist  — The future of recruitment gets a retro twist  — 

The future of recruitment gets a retro twist. How can a national railway carrier reinvent itself as a forward-thinking tech employer?

As the Netherlands’ largest passenger rail transport company, the NS (Dutch Railways) provides convenient, fast, safe and affordable travel to about 1.1 million passengers daily.

To  fulfil their ambition of making travel smart (based on the most up-to-date information), sustainable (fossil-free, circular and green) and accessible (for and by everyone), NS needs top-tier IT and tech talent—a tough battle for a tight pool.

We created Tech Tracks, a retro arcade game that requires code to win challenges based on real-life NS operations. TechTracks shows players how coding skills can make mobility more sustainable for over half a million people daily.

Our experience using online games to boost IT recruitment for ABN Amro showed us a winning strategy. We also knew from NS research that making a positive social impact matters to its target audience, aligning with sustainable accessibility as a key brand value.

The secret sauce is in the fun factor, so we added a third flavor to the mix: the retro appeal of arcade games, which peaked during the pandemic as gamers craved comfort and nostalgia.


Along with desktop and mobile versions, we worked with NS to build a traveling arcade machine to tour train stations and IT fairs, with distinctive elements such as a code-only keyboard, emergency brake and NS travel signs.

Examples of assets used for socil post to promote the NS Tech Tracks campaign, such as; a detail of the arcade game where you can play a video game, an announcement of the Tech Track campaign showing the copy in a retro gaming font and a screen showing the a job opening for Java Devops Engineer.

We invited influencers to share Tech Tracks on Instagram and tech-savvy platforms like Reddit, GitHub, Teakers, StackOverflow and Twitch (which had the highest click-through rate).

Yellow background
Mobile screen showing the NS tech Tracks leaderboard.

High scores were recorded and sent to NS recruiters, with top scorers offered jobs outright. Behind-the-scenes content showcased the innovation and collaborative culture at NS, whose developers helped build the game and arcade machine itself.


After reaching 204% of the target audience, NS saw an increase in IT applications and employer brand awareness. TechTracks put NS on the map among bright IT minds aged 21-28 years old, as an employer where their skills can make a difference for good.

So if you think your employer brand isn’t something to play around with, think again. Sometimes playing games might be just the right thing to do.

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Is your employer brand on the right track? Map out an exciting new journey with Kim.
Kim NieuwenhuijsCreative & Culture Director
We are code d'azur — We are code d'azur — We are code d'azur — We are code d'azur —