Ads favor humor, flash over reality

Jeremy Elwood, SBJ ReporterMaybe it was a concerted effort to avoid the touchy topic of the current job market, but two of the Internet’s biggest job sites – Careerbuilder.com and Monster.com – chose to use their precious Super Bowl ad time to target viewers who have jobs but may be unhappy.

Monster’s ad featured a cubicle-bound lackey with an unfortunate view of a trophy moose, while Careerbuilder’s 60-second ad was a montage of somewhat disturbing office encounters that would give even the most loyal company man second thoughts. (The image of the gentleman in a Speedo is going to give me nightmares for days, I’m sure.)

While both ads were humorous and memorable – both ranked fairly high on USA Today’s Super Bowl Ad Meter – they were conspicuous in their lack of mention of the thousands of viewers who would be happy to have any job right now.

Perhaps the bigger message, though, can be seen in the lineup of advertisers spending significant money for face time.

In addition to the two job-search firms, viewers also saw an ad for national pawnshop Cash4Gold (Ed McMahon and MC Hammer look to trade in their bling), two ads from online brokerage firm eTrade marketing its ability to help investors rebuild their shattered portfolios (with help from some talking babies, of course), and an ad for online vehicle retailer Cars.com showing a genius unable to get a car.

Add that to the seven unique ads from the largest ad buyer, Anheuser Busch – including one for Bud Light about cutting Bud Light from meetings to save money – and the outlook from corporate America is more than a little depressing.

Of course, there was one bright spot: NBC made a record $206 million in ad revenue for the evening, at an average of $3 million per 30-second spot.

I guess no publicity is bad publicity.

See the Feb. 9 issue of Joplin Tri-State Business for reporter Chris Roberts’ take on Super Bowl advertising.

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