It's A Jungle Out There Filled with Monkeys
A few years ago CareerBuilder came to us-a distant third in its category, an unknown to most, and with so little money to invest, we seriously thought about putting them on a cash upfront basis.
Our first work was OK. Then we had an insight into how to go from chasing the same job seekers as the monster in the category (Monster.com) to going after the much bigger opportunity of those frustrated in their jobs but needing a push to make a switch. It was a gold mine for CareerBuilder and our 360-degree thinking drove it. We made them famous. In less than 36 months, C-K helped put CareerBuilder and their management on the map.
We helped drive up traffic 43%. We grew their awareness by 64%. We helped drive their shares from the low 20s to 40% while driving Monster's share from 50% down to 36%. We made them No. 1, even while [it was] being outspent three or four to one by Monster.
We created a brilliant media strategy by concentrating most of their media dollars on Sunday and Monday, when people are most frustrated about starting another work week. We told them why they needed to be on the Super Bowl. It was not just because it is a big media event but because it was the right event at the right time -- New Year's resolution time: "I'll diet, I'll exercise, I'll get a better job" etc. etc.
We also created two of the biggest and hottest sites in internet history. Monk-e-mail is the most-visited site ever. Age-o-matic, at its launch, is more visited than Monk-e-mail was. Of course, we did the phenomenal "I work with a bunch of monkeys" series and "I work in a jungle" TV series.
The former has won every major award there is. The latter has so far had some of the most spectacular publicity and results; it drove double the visits to CareerBuilder the Monday after the Super Bowl than did the previous campaign. Nielsen reported the largest site traffic increase (148%) of any Super Bowl advertiser; the 10,000 people TiVo polled voted it the sixth-most popular; the commercials had the highest same-day DVR playback (over 2.5 million) in the country; the monstrous content-ladened YouTube had CareerBuilder as the 12th most-visited commercials; BusinessWeek called it the best ads; Sports Illustrated said it was the top five; and of course we blew every brand out in terms of all the free publicity the campaign generated.
Overall, CareerBuilder's revenue shot up from $100 million to $700 million. No. 1 in share. No. 1 in visits. No. 1 in listings. C-K contributed enormously to that -- all in less than 36 months. A week and a half ago they told us our performance report card would be at 100%! We were so friggin' happy!
There was only one place we didn't score at the top: with the 238 people that comprised the USA Today Super Bowl poll (all located in Houston, TX and McLean, VA) who voted us 16th and 27th. (That means there were 41 ads below us.)
To our amazement, to our total astonishment, all that astounding business success was less important than one poll. They wanted us to make them famous; we did that in spades (brand awareness up by 64% -- even Millward Brown, the venerable research firm, said their brand building model couldn't explain such incredible growth). But the TV ads did not make the top 10 in the USA Today poll -- a poll that everyone knows doesn't mirror results (see the continuing Bud sales decline for one!) -- they just told us they will do a creative review.
"Wait a minute," we said, "what about the incredible growth that is going on, the shares, the revenue, the awareness, the two best internet sites ever, the massive buzz, etc, etc. What about all of that? That's huge."
"Yes," they responded, "but you (C-K) didn't get the top ten in the USA Today poll." "Hold on -- we crushed every possible business metrics/barometer for success. Out of all the metrics and polls, it's all about this one? You have to be F'ing kidding, right!?" "No, that's it. It's because of the poll." That was about the extent of the conversation.
C-Kers, we have to tell you -- in our entire history, hell in the history of this crazy thing called advertising, I'm not sure there has ever been [anything] as baseless or as unbelievable as that. It's so ludicrious and they are so serious about that poll it's almost funny.
Being floored would be an understatement. We can proudly take credit for their success. We certainly don't think one poll builds a brand. We don't think that our tremendous results should be defined or denigrated by a measurement that everyone knows is not related to business success.
Most importantly of all we take great pride in being a very hot, highly successful agency. We consistently and dramatically help brands change the conversation in their category. We did it in spades for them. Despite all the great work and making them famous, their sole reason is, at best, unsophisticated, un-businesslike and from the standpoint of how to run a business, unprofessional. They may not be the kind of people we should do business with. Therefore we can't justify any reason to participate in a review and have just notified them accordingly. The good news is that we are on a roll that looks even better than the incredible 2006 growth of 23%. We're moving on!
So when people say that it's a jungle out there filled with monkeys...
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