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Microsoft's pig-based poaching of Amazon employees sizzles out

Nerds love bacon, apparently.

(Photo: Dcoetze/Wikimedia)

In a market research battle of the brands study last year, the allure of bacon was put up against the popularity of Angelina Jolie. After examining a wide range of social media data, including tweets, Facebook updates and blogs, the tasty breakfast meat was declared a clear loser.

For obvious reasons, researchers at Conversition Strategies (yes, that is how it is spelled)—which has offices in New York and Toronto—concluded the actress was a more attractive breakfast companion. However, when not being compared to the Hollywood sex symbol, bacon clearly held its own in the making “knees sink with eternal, undying love” category.

The power of bacon hasn’t been lost on Microsoft, which has lost to the likes of Amazon and Google some of its draw as an employer of geeks. Indeed, as part of an attempt to recruit engineers for its Kinect for Windows team, the software giant recently started deploying the power of sizzled pig.

On Nov. 21, Microsoft rolled out a pimped up hot dog cart near Amazon HQ in Seattle to distribute free strips of pepper bacon. Bacon air fresheners were also on offer in a recruiting campaign created by Seattle “fun factory” and ad agency Wexley School for Girls. With the tag line “Wake Up and Smell the Future,” the employment drive came complete with a costumed super hero called the Sizzler, who was supposed to go hog wild with a similar bacon attack on Google.

But according to The Seattle Times, Dante Rivera, owner of Dante’s Inferno Dogs—the meat cart vendor hired to push pig for Microsoft—couldn’t take the heat generated by tech world competition. He got cold feet after realizing he was part of a recruiting campaign aimed at the employer of some of his most loyal customers.

Maybe Microsoft should have hired Jolie and her hubby to help poach employees from its competitors. After all, anyone who has ever seen the 1985 movie Weird Science can tell you what really attracts programmers.