On July 19, the US Embassy in Rabat uploaded a GIF from award winning television program The Office in which Michael Scott (Steve Carell) declares that “an office is a place where dreams come true”. It was captioned:

“Do you want to know how to get a job at the US Embassy? We will be going live with the US Embassy Human Resources office on Tuesday, July 25th, from 3 PM – 4 PM. This live stream will be in Darija and will focus on answering your questions on the application process and how to successfully apply for a position at the U.S. Embassy Morocco. Please leave your questions in the comment section below, and we will try to answer as many of them as we can. We look forward to you joining us this Friday!”

The same text was posted in Arabic. The post simultaneously publicized America’s successful film and television industries, the upcoming live stream, and the opportunity to work at the Embassy.

Facebook was the ideal platform for ensuring that both the GIF and the live stream reached its target audience with maximum engagement. The Embassy’s Facebook page has more followers than its Twitter and YouTube profiles combined, and employers are increasingly using Facebook as a platform to advertise job opportunities. This post was effective in reaching out to Moroccans and Americans seeking employment, with an added entertainment factor.

The success of The Office, and the American entertainment industry more generally, contributes significantly to the USA’s soft power reserves. The use of the GIF sought to take advantage of the industry’s success, as well as the global popularity of certain programs, in a humorous and unconventional way.

The post received 255 likes, 103 comments, and 40 shares, while the live stream attracted 10,000 views, 427 comments, and 78 shares. The Office GIF successfully used humor to promote the desirability of the Embassy – and by extension America – as a workplace.

Lessons for organisations:

  • Countries and diplomatic missions can capitalize on the success of their entertainment industries for more serous objectives (like employment)
  • GIFS are a fun and easy way to boost audience engagement and promote soft power assets