How a Real Company Benefited from an HBO Show's Fake Job Ad

May 1, 2015

Every good salesman I’ve ever met lives their life by the famous words “always be selling.” Well, San Francisco-based video production company Viddyad lives by a slightly different credo: "always be recruiting."

Particularly when someone else is doing the advertising for you.

HBO’s hit comedy Silicon Valley -- which, as the name implies, pokes fun at the irreverent and geeky startup culture in Silicon Valley – has a funny website dedicated to the fictional company featured in the show, Pied Piper.

In the show, Pied Piper is hiring new developers, so naturally the fictional website has a fake career section advertising those positions:

pied-piper-site

The job postings on the career site are filled with actual requirements – deep expertise of C++, experience with large distributed database design  - and several humorous ones, such as fat-positive, dog-friendly, Satanism-tolerant. The career page is being promoted in Facebook ads like the one below as a clever way to market the show:

pied-piper-facebook

Along with the funny job postings, the career page has a comment section, which is filled mostly with risqué attempts at humor.

However, Viddyad saw that stream [which is generating a ton of traffic thanks to the HBO marketing budget] as an opportunity. Towards the top of the comment section is a posting by the company advertising real developer jobs:

viddyad-posting

Why this is genius

This move is fantastic. First off, just from a practical perspective, it is really smart.

The Silicon Valley ads are almost certainly being targeted toward actual people who work in Silicon Valley, as they are the perfect audience for the show. It’s also the perfect audience for Viddyad, which is looking for Silicon Valley developers. The best part is that generating this audience didn't cost Viddard anything – it’s all coming out of the HBO marketing budget.

Bigger picture, it's fantastic because it shows that Viddyad really is always thinking about recruiting. And that commitment got them a free ad that reaches their target market, with some good PR to boot.

* Image by HBO Silicon Valley

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