Remember the infamous ‘best job in the world’, where Ben Southall beat 34,000 candidates in one of Australia’s most successful advertising campaigns to be ‘caretaker’ on Hamilton Island for six months, blogging, tweeting and videoing the entire experience to a global audience who would then hopefully purchase tickets to do it all themselves?
There seems to be a multitude of ‘best jobs in the world’ jobs for those who love new media, travelling and love making a public fool of themselves.
Usual story is that contestants applicants do some cool creative video application and then maybe get a Facebook group behind them and the applicant is voted for in an online campaign for being the craziest/most popular/most obnoxious candidate.
Like the ‘Second best job in the world’, which was for an international shopping consultant who travels to seven fashion capitals of the world with 10,000 euros and shares all her adventures via the web.
Or, the other ‘Second best job in the world’ as a volunteer caretaker to live on a remote island in New Zealand.
Or, the ‘consolation prize job’ for contestants who missed out on the Hamilton Island gig and could instead be a caretaker at a resort on South Stradbroke Island.
Or, ‘Six beers of separation’, a promotion by Tooheys Extra Dry, where four contestants travel the world attempting to meet and have a beer with their career hero.
It’s not just travel, Channel V had a big online campaign for new reporters at music festivals. Job recruitment site Monster ran a ‘Dream Job’ campaign, where contestants could be voted to indulge in their dream job for three days.
Entrants are required to provide photos and, if possible, a Youtube clip, along with their entry form. They will be whittled down to a final six who will be taken to Coral Bay on the Ningaloo Reef for the final selection process, involving a host of adventure activities and lots of opportunities to impress the judges.
The winner will be “employed” to travel for up to six months throughout WA with a camera, mobile phone, laptop, video camera and entertainment allowance, recording their adventures as they go.
Do these type of travel campaigns work? Do people actually follow the stories and updates posted by these job ‘winners’ or is most of the publicity done before any winner is ever announced?
Obviously someone thinks the ‘paid traveller/advertiser job’ is working since Ben Southall, the successful applicant of the ‘Best job in the world’ has now been named a Global Ambassador for Queensland and is busy pimping Queensland and cheap Qantas flights over at the G’Day LA events. It’s his first stop in a global media and trade mission to talk about his experiences in Queensland.
But that’s not to say his year at Hamilton Island was all fun and games. In his first tweet, he misspelt Hayman Island as Hayward Island. Early on he was accused of not blogging enough, although there were apparently technical issues. He was stung by a jelly fish. He worked seven days a week, up to 19 hours a day. It wasn’t exactly the relaxing tropical island getaway some might have thought, reports The Telegraph.
A snapshot of just how demanding the Best Job in World could be is provided by Tourism Queensland’s official report on Mr Southall’s posting, which ended at New Year. It announced that as of then, he had visited 90 “exotic locations”, made 47 video diaries, and given more than 250 media interviews – including a chat with Oprah Winfrey.
True, somewhere along the line he did also learn to sail, play golf and kayak. But even those activities were curtailed by the need to keep a running “wish you were here” web commentary about what he was up to. He posted more than 75,000 words in 60 separate blogs – the equivalent of a small novel – uploaded more than 2,000 photos, and “tweeted more than 730 times,” according to Peter Lawlor, Queensland Tourism Minister.
Is it worth it, for either the ‘dream job’ winner or the place desperate for tourism? And are the type of people who win these jobs — often personalities more in line with Big Brother contestants than people whose travel opinions you would listen to — really the best way to promote tourism?