How to get a Design Job using Tinned Meat!

SPAM image

A few years ago, when I left the Coventry University School of Art and Design, England, I landed a freelancing contract just a few days after returning home. How? I quite literally spammed some design companies!


The first stage of this marketing campaign was very simple. I posted out empty tins/cans of SPAM meat in the post. After eating the SPAM (it tastes OK on a sandwich — there’s millions of staving people out there, I wasn’t going to waste it), I targeted a few design companies that I would like to work for and stuck a stamp directly onto the cans with their addresses and posted them. Yes, that was it. Just an address with no explanation on the tins.

I repeated this process over several days, until each company I targeted received about 5 tins through the post. Here in the UK, if you post something with a stamp on it, and it’s not hazardous, the ‘postie’ has to deliver it, so the SPAM got through okay.

My hope was for staff at the targeted design companies to ponder the meaning of the SPAM tins. I hoped it would create discussion between team members, with bemusement with each and every can posted to them. I anticipated reactions like this:

What the heck is this? Another tin of SPAM…this is the third one this week! What’s it all about?

Hay you guys, does anyone know who posting this SPAM? If someone’s playing a joke on me, which one of you is it?

Well, I found out later than I did promote discussions like this…read on…


After I had finished posting of the SPAM cans, I waited a day or two, then sent out a folder showing a tin of SPAM on the cover stating “You’ve Been Spammed” (shown in the image below).

The folder was about A5 in size and opened up like a four-page brochure.

When opened, my covering letter and CV (printed on A4 paper) were folded in half and tucked inside the mock-up SPAM can, as shown in the three images below.

This folder was designed to put to rest all discussions and curiosities surrounding my “Spamming Campaign”. My covering letter contained this text:

Title in Spam-Shaped box at top simply said: What?

Dear Sir/Maddam

I am a recent graduate from the Coventry University School of Art and Design seeking employment. As a former student, I’m hard-up and living off SPAM — so your Post-Box has been Spammed rather than your In-box to let you know who I am!

Ok, I’m not really living off SPAM, but I am looking for a job in a company such as yours in this region. I believe that I could be a benefit to you and your clients…[and so on].


Well, those curious reactions I was banking on to land me a job was a reality. I was invited to do various free-lancing work at Wobble Design Ltd in Leeds, UK. When I went to work there on the first day, the design team told me the reason I got the job was for my ingenious marketing campaign. They said they were curious to the reasons they was receiving my little empty cans of tin meat, and it promoted many discussions between them and the architecture firm next door!

So, if you’re wanting to stand out from the crowd, be different and do something unusual. If you want a Graphic Design job or any other job, just be creative, be different and set yourself apart from the crowd. You never know where it will lead you.

But if you’re fed-up with hearing about SPAM, here’s a lovely photo for you instead. Enjoy!

Image copyright here

Have you marketed yourself in an outrageous manner? If so, did it get you anywhere? I’d like to hear your stories…

This article is dedicated to the Blog Action Day Poverty Fund as part of the Jacob Cass Group Writing Project, together with a PayPal donation. The proceeds go directly to the fund to help stamp out World-wide Poverty. You can visit the official Blog Action Day site here. Top Image copyright here.

31 thoughts on “How to get a Design Job using Tinned Meat!”

  1. Jacob Cass

    Haha Andrew that is a kack… I’ve got an awesome book called Building Design Portfolios and that list some other innovative ways… I can’t remember who it was but someone rocked up with a portfolio the size of a car, and another sent locusts in the mail… standing out is great.

    Book link:

    Jacob Casss last blog post..$11,000 Prize Giveaway – Design Group Writing Project For Charity

  2. Andrew Kelsall

    @ Jacob,

    Kack? I assume that’s an Australian word, lol 😉

    I’ll take a look at the book you mention, the car portfolio sounds great. Don’t think I’ll ever try locusts, but I’m going to do a marketing campaign this year to drum up more local business, maybe I’ll post out Yorkshire Puddings!

    The Trackback appears there now, I checked just after posting, is there anything else I need to do (link somewhere else)?

    …Thanks for stopping by…

    @ Jeff, cheers!

  3. Jacob Cass

    Haha yeah kack is like… that is a laugh. Nah that is it, noticed the trackback is there now 🙂 Thanks.

  4. Jennifer

    Brilliant! No wonder you got work – it’s a great idea.

    Jennifers last blog post..15 Free Retro Fonts

  5. Andrew Kelsall

    Nor me…although I did trawl my way through the entire lot over the space of 9 days, although they were the smallest size can fortunately!

  6. George -

    That’s without a doubt the most creative job application I’ve ever heard of. Kudos on the idea!

    BTW, subscribed to your RSS feed 🙂

  7. Andrew Kelsall

    Thank you George, I see that I am not the only one with a pensive-looking Gravatar 😉 … thanks for subscribing to my blog…

  8. James Kurtz III

    Brilliant! Great job. Good to hear that it worked out for you too.

  9. Andrew Kelsall

    Thanks James.

    I think I’ve seen comments by yourself on other designers’ blogs before, so thanks for commenting on mine…

  10. Andrew Kelsall

    Thanks Max. BTW, I’m a newish-regular reader of your own site I recently, keep up the good work…

  11. David Airey

    Haha. Great stuff, Andrew. Glad it worked out in the end, and that you weren’t actually living off spam.

  12. Andrew Kelsall

    Cheers David. I hadn’t eaten for years, until about 2 weeks ago for some reason 🙂

  13. Andrew Kelsall

    Hi Amanda,

    One response, but I think I only targeted 6 companies to start with, but that’s a 16.6% success rate, compared with 1% for general direct mail from world-companies (I think, don’t quote me on it).

    I would definitely do it again one day if needed 🙂

  14. Sarah Camp

    Such a great idea!

    When I was looking for jobs I designed a comic-book version of my resume. It had a super-hero version of myself and a story that unfolded to reveal the different sections of my resume. I also designed a website to go along with it and a musician friend of mine even went so far as to write a theme song for me. It was a lot of fun, and proved to be fruitful as I was hired by a company solely because of my creativity with it.

  15. laura

    Im currently doing my self promotion malarky at uni (ive been there part time for 6 years now so im quite litterally at breaking point) I was thinking about doing something with badges and or film canisters (cv comes out like film) but dont go telling everyone, I want it to be a success!!

  16. ASF

    This particular type of useful blog…wow !!!!

  17. Natasha

    GENIUS! I have 3 years until I finish Uni and have to go out into the big scary world… so 3 years to think of a promo to rival yours! 🙂

  18. Andrew Kelsall

    Thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts; appreciated 🙂

  19. Alex Lee

    Great story. I’ve heard a lot of these types of stories regarding advertising creative trying to get into the business, with varying success. Some companies are annoyed but some people definitely get hired!