Campaign Review: Original Thinkers Wanted, Except When They’re Not

Every now and then, I’m pitched about various campaigns, and I’ll share some of the better ones here. However, even some well-intentioned campaigns go awry in the plan or execution, and this one from Kimberly-Clark is a creative idea that uses interactive media in the perfectly wrong way.

Let’s start with the pitch, included verbatim but excerpted:

Hi

I’m reaching out to you because I thought you and the readers of Inside the Marketers Studio – David Berkowitz’s Marketing Blog might like to take and share a short fun personality quiz we call Welcome Original Thinkers or the WOT Quiz. www.wotquiz.com

Kimberly-Clark thrives on original thinking and we are currently recruiting original thinkers to add to our teams. We’ve launched a new recruitment campaign, “Welcome Original Thinkers,” to find great talent that can help us solve problems and create solutions before consumers even know they need them. I’ve put all the info including videos, images and more on this microsite: www.wotquizinfo.com

First of all, I usually ignore pitches that use the outdated name of the blog, and especially when they don’t bother including my name. But this was a pitch for Kimberly-Clark, one of the top consumer packaged goods companies, so that got me to at least take a look. Also, I was impressed that the person pitching me had a wotquiz.com email address; it felt like Kimberly-Clark was taking this initiative seriously to give people dedicated email addresses for what’s typically a short-lived microsite. It’s smart PR, at the very least.

I took the quiz. It asked me questions like, “You are part of a group trying to increase recycling in your neighborhood. You..” and then you pick six options from choices like, “Interview neighbors to learn about their recycling habits” and “Create a slogan and artfully paint it on recycling bins.” Another question says, “Your Instagram account is full of…” with options such as “Interesting inventions,” “DIY projects,” and “Policy, politics and personal opinion” – but no options for common ways people use Instagram such as photos of family, art, travel, and food. The whole time I took the quiz, I felt like I was being shoe-horned into some version of a character that had no relation to me, and that wasn’t a recognizable human being at all.

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Here’s how I responded to Nina:

Here’s my question: wouldn’t someone who is truly an original thinker not fit into these boxes? I’ve never planned a recycling drive, and my Instagram account doesn’t have any of the six things mentioned. Anyone who’s that original would face the same problem. How does Kimberly-Clark get around that?

What’s also funny is that I’m a big fan of this kind of interactive content. I’m an advisor to Riddle, which runs such interactive modules, and I’ve seen a lot of brands and publishers use this to add value for their audience, while increasing engagement and generating useful audience intelligence.

Instead, we have a brand seeking originality in its hiring, but any applicant who really does live up to the check-box approach must by definition be predictable.

As for the hashtag I’d sign a job application with, well, I’d use #DontHireAnyoneWhoUsesAHashtagToSignAJobApplication.

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