Do Not Hire Me—
Rebel With A Cause 2013
Job hunting using design-thinking
I tasked myself with a three-month project to land a job in advertising in Los Angeles. I pushed myself to completely rebrand my online identity using a design-thinking approach.
"Do Not Hire Me" was an online marketing and brand activation campaign I created in late 2013 to get hired at an advertising or marketing agency while I was freelancing between jobs. My aim was to deliver a unique experience to marketing professionals who often embrace and enjoy sarcasm.
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Literature analysis and marketing strategy
Can dogs relieve stress? Our team conducted initial research through a screener survey with questions related to workplace stress and interest in dogs.
I searched for books that focused on rebellion and guerrilla tactics to gain a better understanding of previously successful campaigns. These included:
- "The worst hotel in the world" by KesselsKramer
- "Punk Marketing" by Richard Laermer
- "The Gruen Transfer" by ABC Australia
- And other marketing textbooks
I analyzed my findings by collecting the most important ideas, concepts, and examples found in the literature. I found that irreverence was a guiding principle and used this insight to make sure my own campaign focused on delivering a brand message focused on a lack of respect for traditional job hunting and recruiting.
Competitive analysis and content audit
I examined other portfolios of my direct competitors and famous ad campaigns to find visual inspiration and copywriting styles for my own project.
I found that my competitors were still using traditional techniques to land a job: networking and applying. I also found that social media influencers were using new platforms; using generated social capital to get their messages across by whatever means possible. I used these conclusions to make sure my users (recruiters and agencies) would:
1. Understand that I was different from other job seekers (in as many ways as brutally possible)
2. Understand my clear intentions to get a job, even though I would be using sarcastic copywriting
3. Be targeted through social media as a means to circumvent traditional communication channels
Surprisingly, I found that personal portfolios often contained descriptions of hard and soft skills that were important, but often too wordy. On the other side, successful advertising campaigns like "The Old Spice Guy" used straightforward language and strong visual imagery to target consumers with the most direct visuals and language. I used these insights to craft my content strategy—keeping words to a minimum and focusing on creative copywriting to explain my brand persona.
By examining other portfolios, I created additional recommendations for myself that would simplify getting users to contact me as soon as possible:
- I only needed one website to perform all the functions of my marketing campaign—using all my social media, paid advertising, and referrals to link directly to this site.
- I found that email addresses posed a barrier to contact, so I aimed to include a real phone number using Google Voice to forward calls to my mobile phone. I found that most creative professionals did not include their phone number, for obvious reasons, so in alignment with my brand strategy, I decided to include one.
Learning how to stand away from the crowd
I asked real advertising professionals how to craft a memorable job hunting social media campaign.
To get a deeper understanding of what my users would want from a successful rebranding campaign, I interviewed various advertising professionals and recruiters at the previous advertising and marketing agencies I worked at. I synthesized this information into an affinity map, looking for key themes my mentors and co-workers mentioned in our conversations.
The most common pattern surrounded preparing myself for all commentary and feedback, as I would be judged not only by people but recruiters and possibly entire advertising agencies if my campaign spread faster than I might anticipate. Secondly, they wished me the best of luck, as they didn't fully understand what I was doing (because they had never heard of something like this before).
Copywriting testing with users
User persona creation
I developed a user persona that I would base my brand identity around an alt-ego version of my previous "clean and minimal" style.
In order to pull off the campaign and appeal to advertising agencies, I would have to embody this persona both online and offline. So I created a persona and paid for professional headshots that wouldd embody the brand I needed to personify:
“Julian is looking for a job but thinks he's too qualified for the roles he is applying for. While he's charismatic, he uses his ability to "read the room" and entice people to join his marketing campaign of irreverence. While he inspires joy in others, deep down, his motivations are to exploit them for his job hunt.”