B-to-b a minor player in Super Bowl XXXIX

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Don't look for many big plays from b-to-b marketers during the Feb. 6 broadcast of Super Bowl XXXIX.

A mainstay of the past six Super Bowls, Monster Worldwide is staying on the sidelines this time around-even though a key competitor in online recruiting,, will be making its debut appearance.

Richard Castellini, VP-consumer marketing for CareerBuilder, a joint venture between Gannett Co., Knight Ridder and Tribune Co, said: "Not only is it the Super Bowl of the National Football League, but it's the Super Bowl of television advertising. It's the single biggest avenue for advertising, and it is a great way to reintroduce our brand to the public."

Like all online recruiting companies, CareerBuilder has an audience that consists of employers as well as job seekers. The company purchased two 30-second Super Bowl spots, which are going for a reported average of $2.4 million each. CareerBuilder's spots, which were created by Cramer-Krasselt, will kick off a more than $100 million marketing campaign designed in part to take on Monster, the acknowledged category leader in revenue.

Monster moves on

While the Super Bowl was instrumental in building Monster's name recognition, appearing in the big game is no longer a necessity for the company, said John Kelley, Monster's senior VP-marketing. "We have tremendous brand awareness, and we are the category leader," he said.

Monster will continue to advertise nationally, with a presence, for instance, during the NCAA men's basketball tournament. It also plans to spend more dollars in local markets in 2005, relying on marketing partnerships with Infinity Broadcasting and others., which is now owned and operated by Yahoo!, is another online recruiter that built its name with Super Bowl spots, but it is skipping the game for the second straight year. Instead, it is focusing its marketing efforts on its affiliation with Yahoo! and a new promotion, ironically called "Big Game Promotion," which is offering dream jobs such as Godiva chocolate taster.

Marc Karasu, HotJobs' VP-marketing and advertising, said CareerBuilder's Super Bowl appearance is an homage to HotJobs and Monster. "It wouldn't be the first time that CareerBuilder took a page out of our playbook," he said.

While HotJobs and Monster have abandoned the Super Bowl, at least one other b-to-b marketer is slated to run a spot during the game, battling to stand out among the Pepsis and Budweisers. FedEx Corp., which has been a regular advertiser during the game, will make a repeat performance in 2005 with creative from its agency BBDO. 

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