Virgin Atlantic Airways has invented an imaginary new role – Freelance Flyer, Premium Economy – and posted it as a regular job opportunity on LinkedIn.
The spoof job ad is in fact a novel way of promoting a contest to win free flights to London from any of 12 U.S. cities the airline serves. The ad asks candidates to explain, in 1,500 characters or fewer, why Virgin Atlantic should foot the bill for their next business trip to London.
So far, 66 people have applied for the "position." The ad asks questions including, "Are you seeking a position with guaranteed upward mobility?" and "Would you accept a window position?"
Responsibilities associated with the role include "Ensur[ing] the tray table is in the upright and locked position during takeoff and landing," while "experience in transitioning smoothly between upright and reclined positions" is a must.
The ad is aimed at business travellers, encouraging applicants to state why a visit to London might have a positive impact on a client relationship, help secure new investors, or inspire a creative project. Virgin Atlantic will pick one winner each week for the next six weeks.
A brand spokesman said via email, "The initial investment was nothing more than we would normally spend to promote a job opening on LinkedIn. It's the first in a series of campaigns focused on Premium Economy we're doing with our agency, Figliulo & Partners."
Virgin's Premium Economy cabin is aimed at people who are prepared to pay extra for services such as a dedicated check-in, priority boarding, bigger seats with laptop power, welcome drinks, and meals served on china.
The spokesman added, "LinkedIn was the perfect platform – we know our Premium Economy flyers are ambitious, experience-hungry people who make the most of every opportunity, and this approach allowed us to reach them where they already are."
Virgin Atlantic claims to be the first brand to leverage LinkedIn's job searching capabilities to run a competition. Software company Replicon recently used the social networking site to promote a series of live events to specific job titles, coupled with sponsored updates and InMail.