Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Me, the "digital content manager" for Arla


"Banana & dates OR strawberries  cream! Which one is a win" in today's world - or at least the very few second this facebook post will get noticed - this question might be as important as the Bard's "to be or not to be"; and who knows? Maybe the strawberries and cream will end up winning. The reason I am mentioning this post from the Arla "Soha w Hana" online page is because, via linkedin, I received an invite to apply as the content manager for it.
My only brush of contact with Arla was socializing with two of their Danish employees in Saudi Arabia back in 2003 and monitoring the whole Danish product boycott backlash which stemmed from the Prophet caricatures debacle which were posted by Jyllands Posten in 2005.
Now, before I go on bashing the whole thing I must insist the whole ad was exceptionally well-written, so they don't need a good copywriter it seems. And here's how the email went with my own observations punctuating the offer:
"Dear Tarek

*I am sure this was created automatically as opposed to being filled in by some intern but calling me by my first name has a nice touch to the beginning of the ad....*

We’re looking for someone extraordinary; a professional digital manager who has a flair for online strategy, to handle our beloved Saha w Hana community and beyond.

*OK, ego flattering does get them somewhere. Implying that I am extraordinary by the virtue of receiving this email is in itself positive. And then stating the position in such grand terms is itself appealing. Problem is, I see nothing strategic about it. Look at all the entries in the page. Games, breakfast choices, photos of tables set etc.... It's all on the executive as opposed to the strategic level.*

We need a true foodie with a passion for international brands. They must be fluent in Arabic and English with a lot of love for our consumers’ needs.

*Well, it is understandable they need a foodie. How they ended up on my profile for that is a mystery in itself. Perhaps my title as "blogger" there fooled them, but I am no iPad hugging smart-phone-cuddling blogger. I am the old school boring one. Maybe automatically "Arabic" and "English" being featured in my profile were among the criteria that got the mass email sent and eventually landing in my inbox. The "love for the consumer needs" bit is true though - reading the comments on the page coming from housewives not being able to load the game or wondering what maple syrup is (charab el kaykab in Arabic) and other assorted daily problems. Note that I don't speak condescendingly, for some people, due to their character and nature, introducing a newbie to maple syrup is very exciting, but I think two decades of journalism, years of strategic consulting and university lecturing makes it a bit boring for me to make this the focus of my day.*

Our diverse team has great ambitions and offers challenging tasks and plenty of development opportunities. We’re known for traditional craftsmanship and world-class technology, so we hand-pick only the very best. And we believe you might just have it in you.

*Is that a note of hesitation i see in front of me? You "might" have it in you? What happened to knowing when to pick the very best a few sentences ago? Suddenly I am not good enough? Just because I am not mad about fixing the glitches of the Puck Man online because I was busy writing a paper for a conference doesn't mean I "might" not be good enough for the job. Or perhaps it does, honestly.*

Arla Foods is a global dairy company employing 18,000 people across 12 countries. We’re proud to be the world’s largest organic dairy company, avoiding artificial colors, flavors and additives where we can, in order to stay ‘Closer to Nature’. And each one of our team members is chosen because they strive to be the best.

*Yes, nice touch the bragging, but then maybe as you implied earlier I am not good enough for that?

So send in your submission and give it your all. We’re looking forward to hearing from you.

*You WILL be hearing from me, this will be my application. Wrong candidate for the wrong job. But why not?
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