Murphy-Goode winery has hired Hardy Wallace as its lifestyle correspondent – aka social media guru.
Wallace, an accredited sommelier, musician and blogger, was chosen out of 2,000 applicants to promote and raise awareness of the winery using social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.
The California-based winery’s highly publicised three-month recruitment campaign required candidates to submit one-minute videos (that were posted on the company’s website) and participate in individual and group activities.
‘We were inspired by the great success of the ‘best job in the world’ job offer run by the Queensland, Australia’s tourism office,’ said Murphy-Goode spokesperson Mark Osmun.
‘No bones about it, we were aware our campaign would generate a lot of publicity, but we didn’t know just how much.’
The winery claims the campaign has resulted in 300m page impressions and generated more than $7m (£4.2m) in publicity, as well as an increase in orders from distributors and retailers.
Hardy Wallace will move from Atlanta, Georgia to take up the six-month, $60,000 (£36,000) assignment.
Wallace had been laid off from his job at Eastman Kodak last year and decided he was going to try to work in the wine industry. Soon afterwards, the Murphy Goode job was advertised. ‘It was such serendipity because it’s my dream job.’
Hardy says he hopes to use social media ‘to inspire people to be curious and passionate about wine – especially Gen X and Millennials. I want to show people the story of wine, the people behind it.
‘I think the winery realized the social media is happening with or without them and they wanted to be in it. It’s infectious, vibrant and contagious – more so than conventional media,’ he added. He said he plans to use video, Facebook, livestream video, and other social media vehicles in his new position.
Murphy-Goode’s campaign drew criticism for enticing viewers to vote for their favourite candidates but ignoring the people’s choice, Martin Sargent.
Questions were also raised about the whether the winery should conduct the campaign at the same time as making dramatic cuts in staff.
Murphy-Goode is among the first wineries – along with Hahn Estates and St Supery Vineyards – to employ someone specifically to focus on social media.
St Supery recently hired Rick Bakas, one of the top-rated applicants for the Murphy-Goode job, for a similar position.
Lesley Russell, St Supery’s vice president for direct marketing and sales, said she watched the Murphy-Goode campaign closely and talked to three of the candidates.
‘The old ways of marketing have run their course and we’re looking to reach consumers where they’re spending more of their time – in online communities like Twitter and Facebook.’
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Written by Maggie Rosen, and Janice Fuhrman in California