The only jobs oriented ads in the Superbowl were CareerBuilder this year, and I only saw one, but I did get a sneak peek because I've written about them in the past.
The ad was okay, but they failed on the basic premise of job searching - hope. Monster used to do that well, which was selling the promise of a job that didn't make you want to stab your eyeballs with a fork. CareerBuilder'a new ad was somewhat clever, but it was also annoying.
See what I mean? Now, CB tried to make it viral. They let out a sneak peek earlier in the week, and sent me two emails encouraging me to check it out, probably because I wrote a nice post about them last year. Well, the post isn't that nice - I did point out they're being way too negative, and that was last year before we really knew what was coming down the pike. The more I think about it, the more they really missed the boat. Unemployment in California is over 9% and getting worse. Massive layoffs are weekly news, and they want to pitch the idea that work sucks?
Didn't they get the memo about hope and change? I'm not one to blow sunshine in unspeakable places, but surely an ad intending to bring people to your website should really be more than a guy in speedo playing with his toenails?
How about this: They still run the video for the web, but scrap it for a speech by the CEO, similar to the Sprint commercials, where the CEO acknowledges that employment is tough, but CareerBuilder is there to help. Monster just launched their new site with help for candidates - perhaps CareerBuilder could have pointed people to their Jobseekers Resources page. That would have generated the massive traffic they wanted, and touched the lodestone of Hope that we need when we're looking for work.
But no. They just went with an attempt to be clever. Maybe next year they'll just tell us to go to the CareerBuilder site to see naked women. I hear that's been done successfully on the Internet before.
As for the viral campaign - two years ago, they used Monk-E mail, PPC, and video effectively. This year, they just added a Facebook Connect page so you can forward the commercial to other friends. I believe the 2008 term for that is FAIL. I didn't mind the email, but it was clearly a press release email, sent out to get me to spread the news. And that was the point - the agency running things clearly is measuring the number of views, and failed to take into account anything resembling interest, as in keeping our interest.
Sometimes good advertising is just being human. In a Superbowl where the game ruled and the ads bored, it would have had that shot at winning the US Today Snap Poll.
UPDATE: I was rewatching some of the ads with my wife, and realized that indeed, Monster did have an ad. It was the silly moose with is rear sticking through a wall ad. It wasn't as annoying as the Careerbuilder ad, but it was also not as memorable. So CareerBuilder wins on noticing the ad, and both companies fail on selling hope. The CareerBuilder tag also stuck out the second time, because I've written about Start Building as being a good line. The problem I see now, is "start building" what? Job Boards are transactional, and what seemed like a good start two years ago now seems an afterthought.