In case you missed one of the hottest viral videos of the month, The World’s Toughest Job turned out to be a brilliant example of branded content. Check it out before you read the spoilers below:
The Boston-based agency Mullen started the ball rolling by posting an outrageous job listing for a “director of operations” position, and despite 2.7 million page impressions for the ad, just 24 people applied for the job.
It’s a wonder anyone would apply after seeing the posting, which mentions that the position offers no vacation days and no compensation. Yikes! Still, some people gave it a shot, and sat through a very awkward few minutes, until the big reveal at the end of the faux interview: the world’s toughest job they were applying for is one that millions of people do willingly do everyday – it’s being a mom. Cue the tears as the applicants break down and begin thanking their moms for all they’ve done for them.
The final surprise comes at the very end of the video in which viewers are prompted to go make their moms a Mother’s Day card at American Greetings’ Cardstore.com.
If the video surprised you the first time you saw it, you’re in good company. The creative team at Mullen say they are still reeling from the unexpected success of the campaign, which has gotten over 18 million views on YouTube in just 3.5 weeks. We spoke to Andrea Mileskiewicz, associate creative director of Mullen, to get a behind the scenes look at how the campaign came together, and what’s next for Cardstore.com.
Success was in the cards
The initial campaign goal was just to celebrate Mother’s Day, and basically relied on direct response banner ads. Through the creative process, however, Mullen landed on this idea that being a mom is the “world’s toughest job,” explains Mileskiewicz. After some discussion, they shifted their focus and effort into creating a video that captured authentic sentiments from real people about how hard moms work. “We keep saying we captured lightening in a bottle with this video. It was truly a serendipitous coming together of so many things,” she says.
While they were pleased with how the video turned out, they weren’t expecting such a massive response. “You can’t fully predict the way an online community is going to share something or embrace something. We could have never predicted that the video would be as powerful as it turned out to be,” says Mileskiewicz.
Since the campaign’s launch, Mullen says it’s garnered more than 800 million PR and social impressions, and a giant spike in site traffic to Cardstore.com. “These are some of the highest numbers we’ve seen,” says Mileskiewicz. “The increased site traffic to cardstore.com was more than we anticipated.”
Why it worked
First off, the campaign was a fit with the brand. Cardstore.com and American Greetings completely lend themselves to this style of advertising, says Mileskiewicz. “The video is rooted in humanity,” she adds. Likewise, people who give and receive cards do so to share human emotions.
Mileskiewicz believes another key element in this project was using the #worldstoughestjob hashtag. “It continues to generate conversation. People have adopted the hashtag, and it continues to take on a life of its own,” she says. She even goes as far as to say that the hashtag is the thread that’s kept the campaign together. “Whether the conversation is happening on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, the hashtag is allowing us to aggregate that conversation onto the Cardstore.com website,” she says.
Mullen was mindful about placing the hashtag in as many places as possible, but making it feel organic, to help facilitate conversations. Of course, one of the challenges any brand faces is how to keep the conversation going after an initial round of viral viewership. “Reengaging those users in a way that feels natural to the campaign was important,” says Mileskiewicz. The week after the launch, Mullen invited users to add to the jobs “list of requirements.” “As the copywriter on the project, I noticed all of the moms in the office had something to add. When we opened it up to the online community, it becomes this never ending job description,” she says.
In the second week, users were encouraged to share photos of their special mom moments to capture what life as a “director of operations” is all about. Users have really made the campaign their own, and continue to share it with their networks, says Mileskiewicz.
Up Next? Spotlight on Dads
Another important lesson from this campaign was that something emotional and authentic can transcend gender, says Mileskiewicz. “We definitely know that moms tend to share more on Facebook, but for guys, their moms definitely tug on their heartstrings. Men who appreciate their wives, their sisters, and their moms were sharing the video, too,” she says.
That’s why Mullen is hard at work putting together something special to celebrate Father’s Day next. “Dads deserve just as much recognition as moms,” she says.
While Mullen is keeping the details under wraps for now, Mileskiewicz says the World’s Toughest Job has opened their eyes to how effective video storytelling can be. In other words, stay tuned!
By Dawn Papandrea, NewsCred Contributor
Originally published on Sep 18, 2013 3:37 PM, updated Sep 7, 2016