Winery’s ‘dream job’ idea leaves an aftertaste

************************************************Murphy Goode did great with the PR campaign disguised as the ultimate marketing job. Yes. It always has a catch. What I do not understand is if MG really has created the position to be bona fide marketing spot, what are they to gain? The same marketing objective can be achieved by several lower-paid staff who would have brought great results by now! I guess the competition attracts people disregarding how fake the process is and it should not surprise anyone if some relative of a big cheese from Murphy Goode or some related business entity earns the crown!


It seemed like such a Goode idea.

Murphy-Goode, part of Jess Jackson’s Jackson Family Wines empire, devised a dream job – $60,000 and lodging over six months for one savvy social media wizard to make the Healdsburg winery the talk of the Internet. This online "lifestyle correspondent" would blog, tweet and generally sing the praises of Murphy-Goode’s vineyards and wines.

A heady mix of wine, Twitter and a down economy, it was a stroke of PR genius, unleashing a flood of stories from the "Today" show, the New York Times, The Chronicle and more.

Nearly 2,000 eager applicants emerged, and some 900 videos were posted online, a key part of the application process. Many took to their Facebook and MySpace pages, gushing about the chance to live the "Goode life" and pleading with fans to vote for them in a running tally of popularity on the winery’s Web site.

But when the winery unveiled its top 50 finalists in late June, top vote-getter Martin Sargent of San Francisco, a former TechTV host and Internet celebrity of sorts, was not on the list. The winery has removed the tallies, but Sargent’s reported 6,000 votes put him well ahead of the pack. His video application had received 34,090 YouTube views as of Thursday.

It was soon evident that, despite intense lobbying for votes, "A Really Goode Job," unlike "American Idol," wasn’t a popularity contest after all. Some popular candidates made the cut, like Hardy Wallace, an Atlanta wine blogger who was first on line at the winery’s April recruitment drive in San Francisco. Others, like Dan Leadbetter, an online marketing consultant in Chino (San Bernardino County), didn’t.

Fans and candidates alike were left scratching their heads. "We thought at first there was a mistake," Leadbetter said.

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