An age of proliferated background and reference checks has certainly made it more difficult to lie on one’s résumé—or at the very least, lie and get away with it.
And whereas this notion may keep candidates candid when applying to various job openings, what’s to stop organizations from misrepresenting themselves?
The idea isn’t altogether new. Advertising executives and global brands have increasingly employed the practice of using outlandishly entertaining job postings in recent years, some more clearly as a promotional ploy of sorts than others.
Deceptive as it seems, it’s an idea WorldSkills Sweden, a not-for-profit organization funded by the Swedish government and other stakeholders working to promote interest in and status of vocational skills, recently employed for the greater good.
Despite Sweden’s large need for vocational laborers in the coming years, research has shown that these jobs and fields of study don’t appeal to teenagers as much as they once did.
Three weeks prior to one of the organization’s annual expos, WorldSkills Sweden hoped to maximize awareness of the event among 13- and 14-year-olds in the southern region of the country where the expo would be held. Ultimately, its goal was to get these teens to attend.
Working with a slim budget, the organization and its team were tasked with relying on social media to deliver a witty and winning campaign that, most importantly, had to work.
Based on Facebook insights about this younger generation’s behaviors and interests, WorldSkills Sweden’s team was able to identify topics and subjects that engaged its target audience (for example, sports, computer games, Justin Bieber, prejudice about old people, and fear of becoming or behaving like an adult).
These same insights were then used to brainstorm ads for fake jobs that the organization hoped would grab the attention of the country’s adolescents. Examples include listings for “Justin Bieber’s hairstylist” and a “super-boring business bloke.” Providing a stark contrast to typical job descriptions, the ads directed viewers to the expo while demonstrating that these overlooked vocational career paths might actually prove stimulating to members of today’s younger working class.
WorldSkills Sweden also coupled these ads with humorous job polls, such as:
Which job would you like to be REAL?
a. Farmville farmer
b. Twitter therapist
c. Facebook troll hunter
d. Counterstrike strategist
e. Tattoo remover
By the time the expo rolled around, 88 percent of all 13- and 14-year-olds living within 100 km of the event were reached, with 16 percent of the same demographic in the region engaged actively with the campaign’s content.
This not only helped set a new attendance record at the expo, but also helped with our decision to name “Fake Ads for Real Jobs” the winner of the Grand Prize for Social Media Campaign of the Year—Small Budget in PR Daily’s 2013 Social Media Awards.
For the real job they did, credit goes to Christian Åkerhielm of MSLGROUP, Eric Aronson of MSLGROUP, Fredrik Lundewall of Coller, and Bengt Allard of Coller.