Maple Leaf seeks a Chief Adventure Officer for new beef jerky brand

Content-generating campaign has attracted more than 5,000 applicants so far


To launch its new beef jerky brand Devour, Maple Leaf Foods is looking for someone willing to spend three full months chasing outdoor adventures.

The Chief Adventure Officer, or CAO as she or he will be known, will be paid $25,000 and expected to liberally share their experiences through social channels. A recruitment video posted online Sept. 23 calls it “Canada’s ultimate job.”

The campaign was created by long-time Maple Leaf agency John St. and has been in the works for a year. Devour jerky launched earlier this year and has been widely available nationwide for about a month.

While beef jerky may have once been held in low regard as a snack option, in recent years it has become increasingly popular as a convenient, high-protein snack for consumers who are health conscious and value convenience.

In Canada, meat snacks have grown into a $150-million market. The latest data from the U.S. shows the category grew by between 7% and 10% last year (and up 46% between 2009 and 2014) generating sales of $1.5 billion.

As a consumer packaged meats company, protein has always been a core brand attribute for Maple Leaf. The company has offered protein snacks before, but Devour represents a new offering, said John St. creative director Niall Kelly. “They really want to redefine the category,” he said.

The product itself is different than most, said Kelly. If other beef jerkies are perceived as being heavily processed “tubes of meat,” Devour jerky is 100% meat, actually looks like cuts of cured meat, is nitrate-free, and comes in a variety of gourmet flavours like 5-Spice Teriyaki and Sweet & Pepper Barbeque Pork.

The CAO campaign may seem to be crafted for millennials, but Kelly said they are not looking only for younger consumers.

“We are looking for people who live a certain lifestyle, they are not the urban-dwelling people looking for cool restaurants and cool parties and living their lives online,” he said. “They are people who would rather go backpacking for two weeks or portaging,” he said.

Maple Leaf and John St. want to position Devour as a hearty, healthy snack for outdoor adventurers when they get hungry many kilometres from their kitchen fridge or convenience store.

“This isn’t the type of jerky somebody picks up at a truck stop,” said Maple Leaf vice-president of integrated marketing D’Arcy Finley, in a release. “This is made for people looking for a premium and delicious tasting source of protein for their next camping trip or outdoor adventure… That’s why the role of the CAO was developed. To help connect with Canadians who love the outdoors and get them excited about the brand.”

Since posting the CAO job in late September, more than 5,000 applications have been submitted, said Kelly.

Aside from social and digital channels, street teams (managed by Mosaic) have been spreading the word across the country.

The amazing-job marketing platform has been a popular one in recent years after the massive success of Tourism Queensland’s 2009 “Best Job in the World Campaign.”

“That campaign did come up when this idea was presented as a good case study in how engagement should work,” said Kelly.

That campaign, however, was more of a PR play to generate news stories, he said. “The CAO position is meant to be a content generator.”

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