Select region:

Unusual Job Draws Praise

Eye-catching ‘slave’ ad in Facebook hit and could also help firm get the type of employee it wants

ABERCROMBIE & Fitch wanted good-looking people. NTUC Income ran recruitment advertisements looking for- among other heroes-Charlie’s Angles and James Bonds.

Mr Joshua-Uriel Leong decided he needed something else: A slave.

The general manager of Conticomponents Asia, a company that distributes bicycle components, is looking to expand its network of dealers.

So he posted a job ad in last Friday’s CATS Classified section in The Straits Times.

The ad reads: “You should be shameless and fearless…and like to suck up to your own bosses to succeed in this role. Must have own horse…we provide the fodder.”

Applicants should also have at least two years of “talking cock experience”.

And as a kicker, the ad cheekily concluded: “We would certainly tell your boss you applied”.

A photo of the ad found its way onto Facebook last Friday and has since gone viral.

The ad was Mr Leong’s idea. He told The New Paper, in an e-mail that he had wanted to shock readers, “provoke their thoughts and evoke their emotions”.

He said the ad’s tone helped to draw readers’ attention and was cost-effective in increasing publicity for the company.

Mr Leong said: “Slaves work for food. You work for money to buy food. Is there any difference between a slave and you?

“It is not hard for me to find staff. The ad’s tone is just more reflective of my own personality, as I am a creative person.”

When asked what the person hired would actually be doing, Mr Leong referred us back to the ad.

To date, he had received 13 applications, but has yet to decide who will be his “slave”.

It may certainly be creative, but could it also be offensive?

Mr Leong said that 98 per cent of the feedback he has received over Facebook has been positive, while the head of CATS Classifieds, Ms Tan Su-lin, said there have also been no negative reports on the ad so far.

She told TNP: “Our first instinct was to call them back to re-word the ad copy.

“But we decided to let the ad run as it is, because to modify parts of the copy would result in diluting the very creativity that underpins the whole ad.

“We trusted that readers, especially the adult-readers who turn to our recruitment pages, would be able to share the humour, intelligence and wit that we saw clearly in the ad.

“We’re keeping our fingers crossed that Singaporeans are now a more sophisticated lot, with the ability to accept and appreciate such humour and wit.”

Mr Leong’s move was applauded by human resource companies TNP spoke to.

‘It stands out’

Ms Joanne Chua, the manager of human resources and supply chain divisions at recruitment firm Robert Walters, said that the ad was bold and eye-catching, stood out from other advertisements, and would draw “a certain type of unique job candidate that the employer may be looking for”.

Advertising, media and social media companies are more likely to run such unconventional ads than others, and these companies usually hire staff who are “atypical, non run-of-the-mill types, she added.

Ms Cheryl Mah, from the marketing team of Adecco Singapore, felt the ad shows that the hiring company has a sense of humour.

Mr Joshua Yim, the chief executive of JCG Search International, added: “It also communicates to the public that the company has a hip, bohemian culture, and likes those who can think out of the box.”

But the same human resources companies acknowledged that the ad might not be everybody’s cup of tea.

Ms Chua also said that the ad might scare some applicants off, while Ms Mah said that some readers could see it as negative or rude.

Added Mr Yim: “Those who are serious or conservative might not take the ad seriously.”

But Facebook users have shared the link to the photo at least 400 times since Friday.

One netizen said: “This is guts/creativity/humour that many ‘Silli’poreans’ lack.”

Source: The New Paper, 28 September 2011