Two birds with a stone

Prasad Sangameshwaran | Updated on January 24, 2018 Published on June 18, 2015


A recruitment campaign becomes the beginning of a brand-building exercise

This is a job worth killing for. It involves undertaking whiskey tours of Scotland and learning about the rich history of whiskey brands from the masters at the distillery. It involves having dinners with the best chefs, meeting interesting people, popularising cocktails, attending exquisite parties, and a big fat salary.

To decode this message, it means becoming the brand ambassador for Grant’s, a blended Scotch whiskey brand. The best part is you do not have to be a celebrity to aspire for this job. But like most things, even this comes with a rider: this is a job you cannot apply for.

Late last month, distiller William Grant and Sons launched a unique recruitment campaign for its Indian operations. For the launch of its #standtogether campaign for Grant’s, its blended Scotch brand, the brand’s agency Sapient Nitro launched a campaign through social networks. Billed as “The Awesome Job you can’t apply for”, it mandates that each aspirant for the job has to be nominated by a set of friends. The job of these friends does not end after the initial nomination. These friends are expected to #standtogether with the aspirant through various stages and shortlists. After the chosen one gets the job, the friends will also get the initial perks. As a close-knit group they get a tour to the distilleries in Scotland.

The campaign generates interest for several reasons. This is probably the first time in India that a job vacancy is used to simultaneously build brand awareness. KV Sridhar, Chief Creative Officer, SapientNitro India, says that in the case of Grant’s whiskey, the brand philosophy was about believing in collaborative success and the power of connections. Hence, to launch the brand in India, the agency decided to activate friendship rather than merely talkabout it. Shweta Jain, marketing controller, William Grant and Sons says, “While searching for the India Brand Ambassador, we mirror the current sentiment of celebrating partnerships, entrepreneurial spirit and treading uncharted paths. It’s the brand’s way to activate friendships towards shared success.”

Sridhar adds, “The awesome job is a first-of-its-kind integrated campaign leveraging the power of connections both online and offline, where the consumer is the ultimate hero.” Three weeks into the campaign, there were nearly nine lakh likes for the campaign and more than 850 people who were nominated for the job, with around 1,200 votes being cast. Jain adds that apart from mid-level executives from the food and beverages sector, the job has appealed to professionals even from the technology space. “We have received an interesting mix of nominations,” she says.

The top ten nominations would be called for an interview by a panel that includes the global brand ambassador later this month. To popularise the concept, the agency has also taken ‘a speaking chair’ around popular spots in North India to generate excitement as ‘the awesome chair that will land you the awesome job’.

To be sure, this is not the only campaign that has glorified the head-hunting process. Globally, the most cited case is the 2009 campaign by Tourism Queensland for ‘the best job in the world’. This was a global tourism campaign with a shoestring budget that could have bought the client only classified space in publications around the world. The response was overwhelming with some accounts claiming that there were over one million applicants. Much recently, American Greetings created a fake job offer, calling it the “world’s toughest job” and posted it online and in newspapers. This was followed by real interviews to publicise the message of sending out a greeting on the occasion of Mother’s Day.

But Sridhar argues that Grant’s offer is different, as in the other cases individuals could send in their own applications. In this case, those interested have to rely on nominations. Four days ago, the nominations were officially closed and the round of shortlists have started. While this campaign might have started on the right track, the challenge is to sustain interest, once the novelty behind the campaign wears off.

Even Grant’s cannot take certain things for granted.

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Published on June 18, 2015
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