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A Strategist’s Application to Cleo’s Agency Bachelor of the Year

Have you ever wondered what motivates people to enter into competitions such as Cleo’s Agency Bachelor of the Year Award? I did. I also wondered why some people are considered more ‘eligible’ than others and if some marketing principles could be applied to get a competitive advantage for those of us who are ‘eligibly’ challenged.

As a budding strategist, research underpins a lot of what I do. When faced with a business problem, research and data are to form a strong strategic direction. Simple, right? Well herein you will get an idea of the thought process involved in applying for the Agency Bachelor of the Year Award and what happens when use you some principles too literally.

First, one must become aware of the award. In this case a companywide email from a colleague stating that I should enter. Why me? Does this person hate me? Or worse, does this person have the hots for me? In any case it’s awkward and I want nothing to do with it.

But curiosity gets the better of everyone and I click on the link. There it is: “The Cleo Agency Bachelor of the Year Award”. What kind of tool would nominate himself for this? Why on God’s green Earth would anyone put themselves through this? Wait, did they just say a $5000 cash prize? I’m listening.

My colleagues volunteer to fill out my details. Surely these ‘friends’ of mine have work to do. I am however, flattered with the attention so I look more into what’s involved in the application process. What if they’re just being supportive and egging me on like Fran (The Nanny) Drescher’s loving mother would encourage her to enter X-Factor? It’s going to be a total train wreck. My friends are resolute and the $5000 is worth it. So I continue.

If I’m going to win the 5000 beans I need to be smart about my application. I decide to support my responses with the use of research based on objective and empirical evidence to ensure I choose the ‘right’ answers in order to make it through the application process.

I move to the application page.

Step 1: Upload a photo of yourself from the waist up. I hardly upload photos on social media, now I’m supposed to upload a pic so people can judge me? I suddenly realise that I had a Tinder account. Yes but at least Tinder is anonymous and judgement is more or less contained to people within the app. Besides, nobody cares what Tinder people think anyway- they’re not real people. Then I do a double take at the photo criteria- “from the waist up”. From the waist up? Do they expect a photo of me eating dinner? Or perhaps they would like one of those strategically, intentionally and obviously cropped photos that are ever present on Facebook? For some inspiration I look to the photo they have suggested (last year’s winner pictured below). Is this dude’s photo professional? And how can I possibly get a tan in July? I come to the realisation that I’m doing exactly what I expect people will do to me: judge. I decide to be mature about the situation and not think about judgement. This is just like Tinder; if they swipe left I’ll never know.

I need to upload a photo that appeals to everyone. In this instance I use Google 2013 search trends as a bench mark for what people find interesting. The top five topics searched in 2013 were:

1) Paul Walker

2) Cory Monteith

3) Royal Baby

4) iPhone5s

5) North Korea

Then I decide to incorporate all five of these search terms in the one photo. The likelihood of this idea actually working is about as likely as me having a beer with any one of the three names in that list. Surely the judges will love this? What can be more appealing than a bloke with the five hottest topics of 2013? This photo is ridiculous, but sometimes you’ve got to give the people what they want.

Step 2: Fill This Out. I thought this section was simple enough until I came upon the comment boxes.

• ‘I should be Cleo Bachelor of the Year 2014 because…’

• To impress a girl on a date I would…

• My life motto is…

If I was to tell the truth these would be my responses:

I should be Cleo Bachelor of the Year 2014 because…

• …I am broke and need $5000. Cha-ching.

• …it will help me score chicks. It probably won’t.

• …it will annoy my ex-girlfriends. Definitely won’t.

To impress a girl on a date I would…

• …tell her I really, really want her to pay for my dinner. She’ll be super impressed with my outspoken honesty, right?

My life motto is…

• …Really? Who has a life motto?! It must be a trick question where if you answer this space then you’re automatically rejected. God I hope someone says YOLO. Or even YOLO’s Latin equivalent –Carpe Diem.

But telling the truth doesn’t get you anywhere in the noughties. I did my research and this is how I answered:

‘I should be CLEO Bachelor of the Year 2014 because…’

• …I was TIME magazine Person of the Year in 2006. I was the 2006 Person of the Year because I anonymously contributed millions of bits of content to the internet. And since then the amount of content I have contributed to the internet has gone up exponentially.

This may seem far-fetched but it is most definitely true. Surely the judges cannot overlook someone who has been the International Person of the Year and uses it as a reason for this section.

To impress a girl on a date I would…

• …smile, make eye contact, have fresh smelling breath, have a good tone of voice, wear smart clothes and I would do all this in the first twelve minutes of meeting her. That is my answer.

The judges of this CLEO Award cannot argue with my response. Research in the UK found that in order for a man to impress a woman on a date, he must adhere to these criteria and do it quickly. The perfect answer. Because a woman’s mind is made up within the first 12 minutes, I could do all of that 12 minutes before the football starts then get to watching the game. The perfect date.

My life motto is…

• “…be as significant as Jesus, Napoleon, Muhammad, William Shakespeare and Abraham Lincoln.”

Again the judges cannot argue with this. They better not. These five blokes were rated by TIME Magazine to literally be the five most significant people in the history of the world. If someone’s life motto is to be as great as the combined weight of the five most significant people in history what life motto can top that? Perhaps be as great as the top six most significant people in history?

To wrap up, the probability of this application making it through is about the same as your favourite Game of Thrones character being alive at the end of the book –low. Nonetheless you’ve been given an idea as to what goes through a media strategist’s mind when applying for such a thing. More importantly, you will find that as important as research and data are, when it’s manipulated and squeezed into context, you will look like Australia’s most eligible idiot. In a photo wearing a flanny with five ridiculously pasted images on it.