The evening papers in London tonight are reporting the story of David Rowe, an unemployed history graduate who spent five days walking the streets of the capital last month wearing a sandwich board. His pitch? He’d work for free for a month. After that, you could either hire or fire him.
Well, his innovative advertising idea produced exactly the result he was looking for. In addition to widespread media coverage and about 250 enquiries, Rowe attracted the attention of JCDecaux’s managing director Spencer Berwin who literally bumped into him on Fleet Street.
Berwin said: “I was very impressed by David turning himself into a human billboard – he’s displayed a natural talent for outdoor advertising. His sales pitch showed enormous confidence and a determination to succeed that is highly attractive for any employer.”
He is now a junior sales co-ordinator with JCDecaux and will work on billboards and street furniture.
Now the cynics with long memories amongst you might remember that this little trick has been used before. 20 years ago Paul Arnold got national media attention using a very similar ploy. He was eventually hired by Tim Bell at Saatchi & Saatchi and went on to become an account director there.
To me eyes at least that doesn’t make Rowe’s stunt any less worthy of admiration. As they say in advertising, there’s no such thing as a new idea, just old ones repackaged. And sometimes that’s innovative enough.
Congratulations, David, and good luck with your new role.