Media production graduate Adam Pacitti, who spent £500 to advertise himself on a hoarding in London, hopes they can
We have seen people do it with T-shirts, songs, viral marketing campaigns and endless rounds of sandwich-boards. Now, 24-year-old media production graduate Adam Pacitti is the toast of the internet – and all over the news – after he rented a large poster site in London to advertise himself for work. “I spent my last £500 on this billboard,” the billboard says. “Please give me a job.”
You have to admire Pacitti’s chutzpah, but do stunts like this work? Does he have a job yet? “I don’t,” he says. “But a lot of companies are expressing interest.” How many? “At least 50. They’re saying they like what I’ve done. They like my initiative. They all just want to meet up and see where they can take things … There’s a couple of production companies who are talking about roles I’d be really interested in.”
He has certainly gone about this like a pro, working in an amusement arcade all summer to save the money, then spending two months preparing the campaign. In the ad itself, he also had the sense to trim the truth a little bit. “The billboard was actually £530 plus VAT,” he admits, “but that didn’t sound very catchy.” The snootily inclined might point out that Pacitti has done this sort of thing before, having scored another viral hit in 2008 with his quest to find The Girl of my Dreams. In the eyes of a media boss, however, that surely makes him more impressive.
Indeed the billboard tactic has a record of success. Last May, Bennett Olson got a job in marketing after buying $ 300 worth of ad space on a revolving site in Minneapolis. The summer before, it was Féilim Mac An Iomaire, who got a job with Paddy Power after he rented a site in Dublin. In 2010, an unemployed marketing executive called Pasha Stocking spent $ 2,000 on a billboard in Bridgeport Connecticut, imploring passersby to “Hire me!” In the event, no one needed to, because she ended up launching her own PR agency.
More subtly, in the summer of 2010, Alec Brownstein found work as an advertising copywriter using a scheme he called the Google Job Experiment. For $ 6, Brownstein bought online advertising that would show a message from him whenever one of New York’s leading creative directors entered their own name into Google. Around the same time, a young actor, Elyse Porterfield, staged a hugely successful hoax, pretending to resign from her job in a blaze of glory, and in the process drummed up a number of real ones.
People using old-fashioned sandwich boards to find jobs outside media or marketing, however, have a more mixed record. Among recent examples, Jason Fruen, David Rowe, Giles Metcalfe and James Elgeti all did find work. Yet there is no sign of any good news about Michael Adlington, Robin Norton or Debi Wendes, which points to a depressing trend. Everybody in the first group was in their 20s or 30s; everybody in the second was in their 40s or 50s.
The rules, then, seem simple. If you’re going to try a trick like this, be young, be inventive, aim for a job that involves attention-seeking – and if it works, be ready. “I’ve never been so stressed in my life,” Pacitti says. “So many people are contacting me, and I can’t get back quick enough!”
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