The Danish communications graduate August Laustsen wondered how to best land a job in a Swedish advertising agency. So, he created the fake company website EMERIH.co (where his message is actually hidden in plain sight, as it’s just HIRE ME spelled backwards), and then emailed creative directors in Stockholm:
My name is August and I’m the marketing director of EMERIH. We’re a creative consulting company with our main office in Copenhagen. After big success in Denmark, we’re now planning on expanding to the Swedish market and are looking for a new creative agency in Sweden. We do work for a wide range of clients from small non-profit organizations to giants like Coca-Cola. We really admire the work you’ve done for [X] and would like to talk about the possibilities of a future cooperation.
Since a large part of our business model is based on creativity, it’s important that the creative department have a look at our website before we take it any further. You’ll find it here: emerih.co
On the website, it becomes clear quite quickly that it’s, in fact, a recent graduate looking for a job. When we at Graduateland heard about this self-marketing stunt, we just had to know how it went - so we called August up for a short interview.
Hi August. So just to inspire our readers a little bit, how do you come up with an idea like EMERIH?
August: I came up with the idea after having sent a lot of 'regular' emails to Swedish ad agencies without receiving any replies. After that, I just realized that I had to change my approach. I began wondering if there was someone who all creative directors had time to talk to. Then it kind of hit me, that they all have time for new clients because that means more work for their agency. So I came up with the idea to pretend to be a client along with some other ideas.
Why did that idea win?
August: I just thought that pretending to be a client was such a funny and different approach that I should do it. So, I bought a website template from Squarespace and created all the content myself. I had a friend to take the photos of me and proofread some of the text. Then I send out the emails.
"They probably remember how it was being young and wanting a job"
Did no one from the companies complain about the hoax?
August: I've only had positive reactions! All the Creative Directors that responded really liked the idea. I think a lot of them could relate to it in many ways because they probably remember how it was being young and wanting a job. Besides that, the application has gone viral and has had more than 50.000 page views. I've received emails from all over the world. It's pretty cool that it just blew up in that way.
Congratulations on going viral, but did the whole idea actually land you a job?
August: Yes, I'm now working at one of the ad agencies in Stockholm. I got 7 interviews within a few days as a result of my campaign and everything changed very fast after that - but it's so nice, it all went so quick I hardly had time to think about all the change.
"You need to remember that all companies are run by regular people - and people like to smile"
So, what did you learn from that experimental approach to job hunting?
August: That's a good question. Obviously, it can pay off to do things differently. And I think you need to remember that all companies are run by regular people - and people like to smile and laugh, so try to give them something to smile or laugh about.
Also, if you from the start you know that the job you want is going to be hard to get, try to do something different from the beginning. I think when you're young it's important to take chances and try things out. I know it's easier said than done. But I was very nervous before sending the emails - but I still did it because I believed in my idea and challenged my fear. I told myself that if everything went wrong, at least I would have a fun story to tell others.