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Attention-loving job ad should not be encouraged


A very hungry caterpillar

Apr 06, 2021, 09:34

Coconut Palm, China’s leading brand of coconut milk, which was established in 1956 on Hainan Island, is catching flak for an outlandish promotional stunt.

This time, the popular beverage maker is under fire once again over a job ad. The recruitment notice (in Chinese) in question, published by the company on Weibo on March 25, calls for young applicants for its management training program, where students learn skills required for senior-level positions in the company and are guaranteed to get an employment offer upon graduation.

The company noted that applicants must be under 28 years old and hold at least a bachelor’s degree. Those who climb up the corporate ladder and finally assume roles as deputy managers — a process that usually takes 14 years, according to the post — would be entitled to an annual salary of around 1.8 million yuan ($270,000), an ocean-facing property worth around 6 million yuan ($913,589), and equity in Coconut Palm. 

“Once you are enrolled, you will have a house, a car, and a fat salary,” the company wrote. “There’s no doubt that pretty women and good-looking men will compete for your affection.”

The backlash was swift and strong. Critics accused Coconut Palm of making exaggerated claims and exploiting images of attractive women to draw attention to its recruitment efforts and publicize its brand. 
“Everyone loves its coconut milk and it really doesn’t need these tasteless advertising tactics to boost sales. But I guess it’s effective for the brand. Look how trending this topic is on Weibo. No job posting has more views than this one,” a Weibo user wrote (in Chinese). Another said (in Chinese), “This job ad makes it sound amazing, but I doubt it will actually deliver on those promises.”

Yet the criticism was dismissed by a spokesperson from Coconut Palm, who told Red Star News (in Chinese) on March 27 that the company stood behind all the statements made in the job post. The spokesperson denied that the recruitment notice was a publicity stunt. “There is no need for us to attract people’s attention. This is what Coconut Palm has been all about since its founding,” he said.

However, authorities were not convinced.  In a conversation with the management team of the company, the regulators reportedly said that the content in the recruitment post had violated China’s advertising laws and “created a negative impact on society.”

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