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OgilvyOne looks for ‘world’s greatest salesperson’ in video contest

OgilvyOne Worldwide launched a tongue-in-cheek international YouTube contest in search of the world’s greatest salesperson on March 30. The winner will receive a three-month fellowship at the agency.

To enter, consumers must upload one- to two-minute video advertisements selling a simple red brick. Mat Zucker, executive creative director of OgilvyOne New York, said there’s a renewed focus on sales at the company because of the sluggish economy.

“We’ve rediscovered the value of selling, which should have always been there anyway,” he said. “But we want to put it under the spotlight and really draw attention to the fact that while the sector is changing, sales are still very important.”

Users can submit entries on Ogilvy’s YouTube channel until May 16. Consumers, voting by the Internet, and a panel of industry professionals will vote on the contributions. The agency will fly three finalists to France for the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival in June, where they will pitch their ideas on stage.

Consumers must disclose their names and e-mail addresses to enter the contest. Zucker said the agency is developing a nurture e-mail program for entrants who didn’t win. He added it’s unclear how OgilvyOne will use the list, but the agency will segment it to create personalized messages.

OgilvyOne is promoting the contest through its Facebook and Twitter accounts, as well as paid ads on Facebook, Yahoo, Google and LinkedIn. It is running the contest in 15 countries, including the US, France, Germany, Australia, Brazil, China, India and Canada. Zucker declined to reveal the campaign’s budget.

The target audience includes sales professionals and amateurs. “We want that guy who can convince his wife to let him go with his friends to Vegas for the weekend,” Zucker said. “But we don’t want manipulators. People who persuade in bad ways are all wrong for us, and are why salespeople sometimes get bad reps.”

When asked why OgilvyOne is making contestants sell a brick, Zucker explained it’s familiar to different cultures and countries. “It was also fun to choose an unusual object because, as salespeople, we don’t always get to choose what we sell,” he added.

OgilvyOne has also produced a series of humorous videos on how to be a good salesperson. They can be viewed at YouTube.com/Ogilvy.

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