Has Packer been taking tips from the mining barons?
Amid the braised shin and spiced short ribs on Masterchef on Monday night was a long, very glossy, advertisement for the Crown group, which owns casinos in Melbourne, Perth, London and Macau.
But it wasn’t an ad to attract customers. Among the things it spruiked was that the group employed more than 14,000 people and ran its own hospitality school. It argued that the gaming meccas housed the most awarded, high quality, hotels and restaurants in the country. And it left the distinct impression that any city graced with a Crown megalopolis was pretty lucky economically.
If it had been set out doors and the main actor was wearing a hi-vis vest and a helmet instead of a double-breasted jacket and doorman’s top hat it could have been a mining industry ad.
You know those ones that make you feel warm and fuzzy about how (insert mining giant here) employs athletic-looking young zoologists to protect the wildlife, or telegenic doctors to serve remote communities.
They’re clever because they serve to reposition the whole industry. And just ask Kevin Rudd what it’s like to take on a mining industry ad campaign.
Crown spokesman Gary O’Neill explained to The Punch that the four-week campaign’s function was primarily recruitment.
Like any hospitality employer, Crown is battling relatively low unemployment, a generation of young people with lofty ambitions, and competition from other sectors in its effort to find and retain good staff.
The ad was designed to sell Crown as an employer where you can find a career path.
But O’Neill acknowledged there might be a side benefit. You see the ad does such a good job of selling the upsides of Crown venues, as a Sydneysider I almost wanted one.
All those great restaurants! It’s so stylish, and fun, and glamorous!
That’s quite a handy message considering Crown’s current attempts to muscle its way into NSW. So far James Packer has won the support of the premier Barry O’Farrell, but his battle for Sydney digs is far from a done deal.
One man who has seen how a well-oiled private sector campaign can swing political events is former “faceless man” Mark Arbib, who was instrumental in knifing Rudd after the mining industry went ballistic.
He now works for James Packer, with the job of helping wrestle control of Echo Entertainment Group.
Those recruitment ads sure are giving Crown some bang for its buck.
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