In Pakistan, jobs marketed to low-literacy populations through viral game

One of the most popular ways to market low-level job vacancies is using listings pages in local newspapers, but this excludes the large proportion of those in developing countries who – even though they may have the skills for the job – can’t read or write. Hoping to tackle this problem, the Polly platform is a fun voice-based cell phone game that also acts as a tool to market job opportunities to those with poor literacy.

Developed by researchers at the Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and Lahore University of Management Sciences in Pakistan, the service allows users to phone up Polly for free and record a short message for their friends. Using a keypad tone menu, callers can then listen back to their recording and select a funny filter to put over the top. They can then choose which friends to send it to, and recipients get to hear the message and get the option to send it on to others or listen to the latest job listings in their area. The idea behind the game is to initiate a connection between illiterate people and job opportunities through a spoken medium that they can understand. Due to the viral nature of the game, in its first 12 months the service has managed to reach over 160,000 users who have made more than 2.5 million calls advertising the jobs listings. The video below explains more about how the game works:

Making job applications more engaging for candidates can help fill roles more quickly, as hotel chain Marriott International discovered when it launched its own Farmville-style game to test potential recruits’ knowledge of the industry back in 2011. Are there other ways businesses can utilise viral techniques to build a userbase for their product?

Website: www.cs.cmu.edu
Contact: www.cs.cmu.edu/~Polly/contact.html

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