One of the more innovative uses of social media to revitalise an ailing brand was the YouTube campaign for Old Spice. 

The videos, created by Wieden & Kennedy, were widely acclaimed and incredibly popular, accounting for the vast majority of the 307m views accumulated on the Old Spice YouTube channel.

As such, you might think that W&K has a deep understanding of social media, and what makes audiences tick.

It is therefore quite a struggle to make sense of its latest job ad, for a ‘Social Strategist’, to work on the Old Spice account.

Where to start? How about where the job ad starts…

Do you regularly surf the Web?

Can you do Facebook?

Does the prospect of a more digital future get you jazzed?

W+K believes that the World Wide Web has the potential to go mainstream.

Perhaps W&K is right… maybe this internet lark might one day reach the masses.

It then invites applicants to complete one or more of 10 challenges, which escalate quickly from the sublime to the ridiculous. 

Each challenge requires its own case study (“simply participating in a challenge without submitting a case study will not constitute an entry”). I guess that’s where the strategy bit comes into play, since the challenges themselves have very little to do with strategy, or best practice for that matter. Many will encourage those prone to spamming to spam, and a number can be easily achieved by gaming the system (by buying followers, for example).

The full set of challenges can be found here. Here, in brief, is my take on them…

Challenge #1 is to create a Pinterest board “dedicated to the sport of inline speed skating”. Relatively straightforward.

Challenge #2 is about gaming Reddit.

Challenge #3 requires the applicant to undertake “original, in-depth analysis” of a social media ecosystem and upload it to Slideshare. 

Challenge #4 is about generating lots of new Facebook fans for your Mum and Dad. Potentially tricky, especially if – like lots of perfectly sane parents – they’re not on Facebook. Or worse.

Challenge #5 is about gaming Twitter. Given that you can buy thousands of followers for a few dollars this is utterly ridiculous.

Challenge #6 is about gaming YouTube (create and upload a YouTube video that generates the most views).

Challenge #7 requires applicants to “get recommendations on LinkedIn from at least three other people trying to get this job”. All kinds of weird, that one.

Challenge #8 is about gaming allrecipes.com.

Challenge #9 is probably the most sublime of the lot, depending on the state of your armpits.

Challenge #10 is about answering a specific question on Quora.

By my reckoning this is a week’s work, possibly two, if you wanted to do them all (which is not compulsory, as has been pointed out to me in the comments). While I’m all for making people jump through hoops to show the skills and desire required to be hired, I think this is overkill, and somewhat misguided if applicants start to game the various systems to win. 

I’d love to know how many people complete their applications in full…

It’s also interesting to contrast this job ad with a W&K presentation which takes a somewhat contrarian view on all things social.

What do you think?