A Hong Kong company is hiring an Animal Crossing expert to create a branded island

Image: REUTERS/Tyrone Siu
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Are you an Animal Crossing fanatic who has demonstrated great design skills on your island, and is now looking take those skills to the real world? There’s a job for you.

A chain in Hong Kong selling foodstuffs is recruiting such a person to construct an island in order to promote its products on Animal Crossing: New Horizons, the Nintendo game that has taken off all around the world as people stuck at home channel their energies into trading turnips, fishing, and catching bugs.

Yummy House, whose products range from soy sauce to canned abalone and which has eight stores across Hong Kong, posted in a recruitment advertisement (link in Chinese) this week that it is seeking a “game specialist” who is creative, has art skills, and has played Animal Crossing for over 100 hours. The person can work from home and only needs to report to the company three times a week, with salary of HK$20,000 ($2,580) for the one-month post.

“We started planning this in April. Because of the pandemic in Hong Kong, lots of people can’t go out, lots of companies are collapsing, and lots of workers are being laid off or furloughed,“ Savannah Tang, a senior marketing executive in charge of the at Yummy House, told Quartz. “We thought, since so many people don’t have much to do, why don’t we provide this opportunity while doing some soft selling?” She said the company will showcase aspects of the company on the island, such as its products, logistics, factories, and stores, hoping that online interest will translate into real-life sales.

As of today, the company has received 230 applications, 80% of which were from Hong Kong, with the rest coming from countries including the US, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Japan. Most of the applicants are artists, graphic designers, or software designers, according to Tang.

Though people around the world have replaced real-life hang outs with Animal Crossing meetings due to social isolation rules, the game has taken on another purpose in Hong Kong, where public anger at the government continues to boil even as the coronavirus pandemic had put a hold on protests earlier this year. In a display of impressive artistic skills, some players are taking their political grievances to Animal Crossing, where they reconstruct landmark scenes from the protests or create protest-themed items such as banners and the “black bloc” outfits that have come to be associated with the city’s young rebels.

Tang, who is in charge of the initiative, said that she had also received applications from mainland China, where, not only is the game unauthorized, but even listings on ecommerce platforms for Animal Crossing in-game items have been removed, possibly because of the proliferation of Hong Kong protest paraphernalia. Some people, however, have tried to get around that ban by using cryptic names to sell services and items linked to the game. That’s a mark for creativity that Yummy House may consider in its candidate search.

This article was updated to clarify that the job is a one-month post.