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CareerBuilder Super Bowl Spots Fare Poorly in Poll

February 5, 2008
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A weak showing in last year’s USA Today Super Bowl Ad Meter got (or, depending on whom you believe, contributed to getting) CareerBuilder’s agency, Cramer-Krasselt, fired. So, does a significantly worse showing in this year’s survey mean that the online job site’s new agency, Wieden & Kennedy, ought to be worried?

Wieden’s debut spots for CareerBuilder, which kicked off a new campaign dubbed “Start Building,” placed 39th and 47th in USA Today’s annual popularity contest. The best of C-K’s three “Office Jungle” spots last year finished 16th, and its top “Office Monkeys” spots rated 11th and fourth, respectively, in 2006 and 2005.

CareerBuilder also aired a third ad on Fox after the game. A spokeswoman said CareerBuilder and Wieden jointly determined that the other two spots were more relevant to the Super Bowl audience.

Asked about the Ad Meter results, a CareerBuilder spokeswoman said Wieden was safe, adding: “We’re very excited about this campaign.”

She also maintained that the Ad Meter was not the sole criterion in C-K’s firing last year. “The whole decision wasn’t based on the poll or any single factor.”

Spat with C-K
That claim, of course, contradicts C-K chief executive Peter Krivkovich, who made a stir last winter when he quit the CareerBuilder business in a huff after, he said, he was told the account had been placed into review solely because of the Ad Meter results. “There are a few times in your life when you have to tell someone to [expletive] off and mean it,” he said at the time.

The spat kicked off a discussion within the business about the relative merits of day-after-game polls. Critics contend that the polls measure nothing except likability and are therefore useless to sophisticated marketers. But proponents say winning the so-called Ad Bowl—as Anheuser-Busch just did for the 10th straight year—is a priceless PR coup that extends the value of ads that cost as much as $3 million per 30 seconds.

Asked about the most recent poll, Krivkovich at first played coy.

“Oh, were they in the game this year?” he asked, before conceding with a chuckle that he’d seen the latest Ad Meter results. “I was sitting on a plane going through the papers, and I have to say, it was interesting.”

Filed by Jeremy Mullman of Advertising Age, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail editors@workforce.com.

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