Who wants to win the best job in the UAE?
Aspiring filmmakers with a penchant for making travelogue-type documentaries may be interested in a new competition run by the Dubai Marina nightclub Societe. The popular hangout is looking for two global brand ambassadors to fly around the world, armed with a video camera, to chronicle their adventures – on Societe’s dime.
The successful applicants will travel to Nepal, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Lebanon and Jordan and are required to document specific experiences, such as “riding a camel in Petra” or “trekking to Everest base camp”, and spread the word about Societe’s own brand of unpretentious fun, which the club’s director, Gary Holliday, describes as “nothing but the best night out, whoever you are”.
Of late, there’s been something of a trend for travel series in the region, with shows such as Peeta Planet – by the Emirati brothers Mohamed Al Awadhi and Peyman Al Awadhi – doing well on traditional television, while the recently completed Nayla Al Khaja-produced Maggi Diaries is seeking to set the benchmark in the online sphere. It’s interesting to note, too, that in a region where filmmakers often complain of a lack of funding for independent, factual productions, all three projects have product placement at their heart.
So can we just expect a big advert from the holders of the “best job in the UAE?”
“The episodes will be serialised on YouTube, on our Facebook and on our website, and we’ll be pushing traffic towards them through our own social media presence and from the venue itself,” explains Holliday. “It could be contrived that it’s just a big PR stunt and, of course, there is some PR involved, but ultimately we want this to be about someone’s journey and their experience and their reaching out to people. It’s certainly not about trying to drum up foreign custom – our core value is fun and if I can put a smile on someone’s face or shake someone’s hand, I’m happy with that. And if that helps them think of not only Societe, but Dubai and the UAE, too, in a better light than they did before they smiled, because we’ve done that, to me that’s job done. It’s a very personal thing for me – a lot of the destinations are things I really want to do but I can’t at the moment, with work commitments, so this is the next best thing.”
Applicants wondering about equipment need not worry. Societe has already collaborated with BlackBerry to issue the competition winners with the very latest camera phones from the Canadian manufacturer. It is also in talks with GoPro to secure its HD cameras for the more extreme elements of shooting. All the raw footage will also be handed over to professionals in Dubai for editing and post-production.
“Video is just a natural progression for me,” says Holliday. “There are so many more ways of expressing yourself. A picture can paint a thousand words, but a video gives you so much more. I’ve just come back from Thailand with a friend and we’ve put together a three- or four-minute video as a tester, something we can give to the successful candidates and say ‘This is the kind of thing we want’. It was a bit of fun, but it still evokes memories. We want the finished product to be a montage of their experience. The ambassadors we choose are key because it’s about their personal journey and experience. We need people that are outgoing and fun, but also have a sensible head on them because they’re also representing the core values of Societe, Dubai and the UAE. Whether they end up dancing in a crazy place or doing some weird activity, we want to show that Societe is not just a nightspot, it’s about fun in all walks of life.”
While Societe pays trip expenses, the world brand ambassador’s role isn’t a paid position, so the winners will have to work around their existing job. With that in mind, Holliday and his team have restricted this year’s stays to three nights, so the winners don’t have to use too much of their holiday time.
• Applicants have until June 5 to submit a photograph and short personal description to firstname.lastname@example.org, followed by a 30-second YouTube video by June 22. The ambassadors will be announced on June 27. For more details, visit www.bestjobinuae.com
Published: May 28, 2014 04:00 AM