Adecco apologizes after accusations it co-opted an online brand

The giant staffing firm launched an ‘Around the World in 80 Jobs’ contest, and it took a lot of heat from a travel blogger and his followers. There was even a hashtag.

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Turner Barr is learning this first hand. Barr launched a travel blog in 2011 called “Around the World in 80 Jobs.” This summer, Adecco launched a contest of the same name and sought to trademark it.

It got worse. Adecco created a promotional video for the contest featuring a person who looked and sounded like Barr.

Barr writes in a recent blog post:

Recently, I was both astonished and demoralized to find that my entire brand, image and web personality was swiped for use in a marketing campaign by some massive multi-billion dollar a year company, without ever being asked for permission or acknowledged. The video for their marketing campaign was particularly creepy for me, as even my age and personality didn’t escape the level of detail spent on creating this doppelganger (they used a paid actor of course).

His fans and followers became enraged and urged Adecco via Twitter to #makeitright. The negative PR led Adecco to acquiesce.

Adecco has renamed the contest “The Work Experience Contest,” and it issued the following statement June 21:

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