Case study: How Cardstore got 22m views with a surprise ending

20/11/2014

To celebrate Mothers May 2014, retailer Cardstore created a viral video with a twist. This case study looks at how the US card retailer filmed fake webcam job interviews for the ‘world’s toughest job’ to become a viral hit and get 22 million YouTube views.

No clue as to the content of the video was given either in the title, or in the description.

In the campaign, Cardstore posted a fake job online with a horrendous set of requirements, including no salary, vacation or benefits.

Twenty-four people actually applied to the job, and the video interviews went viral, creating a big buzz for the company around Mother's Day.

Viewers watched the real-life candidates being interviewed for a position where they were told to expect no salary, vacations, and working hours upwards of 135 hours per week.

The full job description is listed below for a “director of operations” on a sleek site called Rehtom Inc.:

• Standing up almost all the time
• Constantly exerting yourself
• Working from 135 to unlimited hours per week
• Degrees in medicine, finance and culinary arts necessary
• No vacations
• The work load goes up on Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's and other holidays
• No time to sleep
• Salary = $0

It's only 3 minutes into the 4 minute video that we are told the position is actually that of a 'mom', and the viewer gets to empathize with the candidates as the realization of the role that moms play hits home.

The spot is touching, with the real-time recording capturing the swell and shock of raw emotions.

While the applicants didn’t get job offers, they did get a good cry in and a complimentary Mother’s Day card from Cardstore.

The ad was created by agency Mullen. At one point, the Cardstore video was the top worldwide trending video on YouTube, Mullen said.

The video also drew media coverage from NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, and Fox News’ Fox & Friends.

"We wanted to create the kind of thing that could be shared,” said Dave Weist, Mullen's executive creative director, in a statement. “You know you’ve got something in today’s pop culture when you hear from your aunt in Florida.”

The video, created for Mother's Day 2014, hit such a chord with viewers that it has generated 22 million views. As for social media, the video attracted 1,847,212 Facebook shares, and 39,560 Twitter shares.

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