July 14, 2009

Job Opening or Savvy Marketing Campaign?

Image from The Best Job in the World Campaign

Image from The Best Job in the World Campaign

On May 5th, amid a flurry of press coverage a 34 year-old British man won “the best job in the world”: the opportunity to live on a small island off Australia and get paid to feed the fish and blog about the experience. In June the masterminds behind the dream job campaign, Australian agency CumminsNitro, scooped up three Grand Prix Lion awards for direct, PR, and interactive results that drove awareness of the islands off the Great Barrier Reef for the Queensland Tourism Bureau. The stats are quite stunning: 36,600 entries from aspirational experience-seekers around the globe, an estimated $100M in press coverage in 8 target countries, and nearly 7M visits to the website

The campaign kicked off with job listings in print classifieds and on sites such as and glossy printed and interactive kits to press in the target countries. In a climate of job loss and dire news, the story spread like wildfire among hungry news outlets: “Looking for a job? You may want to consider a move to Australia!” And the imagination of the target audience was piqued, dreaming of a paid year spent on white sandy beaches. While the contest is over, the engagement continues with weekly blog posts by the new “island caretaker” that are punctuated by captivating video and flickr streams. Ultimately the measure of any successful tourism campaign is traffic to the destination, and Fast Company reports that Australian air carrier Virgin Blue launched a new flight to the featured island to keep pace with demand.

This spring a small winery in Sonoma County named Murphy-Goode launched a contest targeted at another genre of dream job seeker: “Wine Country Lifestyle Correspondent.” For six months the lucky winner will: “report on the cool lifestyle of Sonoma County Wine Country and, of course, tell people what you’re learning about winemaking” using social media. Like the island campaign, applicants are required to submit a 60 second video application, and entries have flooded the web. In fact, when googling Murphy Goode hundreds of applicant sites appear, including uber-enthusiastic entrants who have purchased url variations of the company’s brand name to host their videos. (A quality problem?) The campaign took off on blogs, Facebook, and Twitter and a winner will be announced on the site on July 21st.

A few thoughts on why these campaigns will ultimately drive revenue:

Customers not just influencers. The concept drove discussion among groups most likely to be prospective customers. Not generic, faceless groups we so often call “bloggers” and “twitterers” to drive coverage (although the target obviously engaged in both) but well-defined groups of prospective island visitors (“global experience seekers”) and wine drinkers/aficianados who are likely to be purchase the products as well as influence friends.
Brand engagement was built into the contest. How many of us wish our customers spent time pouring over our websites and pondering why our brands were perfect for them? Entrants were required to engage with the companies/brands to create video entries. To improve their chances of winning, they researched the island and winery and spent time creating a pitch on why they would be a perfect fit. After entering, they were well-educated consumers who were likely to think positively about the brand they just invested several hours in. The long duration of the contests (3 months) also assured entrants were likely to think about the brand, imagine winning, and tell their friends as they waited for the final result.
The concept struck a powerful chord due to cultural trends. The best marketing campaigns resonate powerfully because they connect with the cultural psyche at a moment in time. During the internet boom of the late 90’s, a job on an island or winery may not have driven incredible press coverage while twenty-somethings became paper millionaires after their companies went public. However in a time of record unemployment and financial uncertainty, a “paid dream job” captured our imagination in a way a “year-long dream vacation” could not.

Come across another job-opening as marketing campaign? Think the trend will continue? Add a comment below.


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