The ad effort from Digital Pulp, New York, also includes radio, print, outdoor and online.
Also today, career information site WetFeet.com launches an estimated $10 million to $20 million campaign. DDB Worldwide, San Francisco, created the humorous effort that includes bus shelter ads and radio spots running through the summer in Boston, Chicago, New York, San Francisco and San Jose, Calif.. Jobs site CareerMosaic also launches a $10 million to $15 million campaign from Merkley Newman Harty, New York.
Techies.com is trying to stand apart from the bulk of "frivolous" dot-com ads, said Lee Nadler, president-CEO at Digital Pulp. One TV spot strives "to keep it real" and features actual techies.com members who responded to a "virtual casting call" on the site.
The documentary-like spot has brief, unscripted snippets of technology professionals talking about what working means to them.
"I think technology's driven by vision," said one man in the spot.
Another said his job exists "to create a difference in people's lives," while another admits "people don't know what I do."
The ads, like the site, are aimed directly at tech professionals, said Tom Tracy, director of marketing communications for techies.com. The company, which opened in 1997 as JobKeys.com, changed its name last year. "Techies see themselves as their own unique club, or tribe, if you will."
The ad strategy, said Mr. Nadler, is to say, "We speak your language." To that end, the tagline running throughout the campaign uses the phrase "If . . . then goto techies.com," derived from computer programming language.
The tag is slightly altered for the outdoor work. It appears under several lines of computer-programming code as: "If you understand, then goto techies.com."
"We realized that people beyond the target audience might not understand some of this," Mr. Nadler said.
But that's OK, he added. The intent of the campaign is not to broadly extend the brand. Its primary aim is to increase the site's 340,000-member base, up 70% from the end of last year, Mr. Tracy said.
"[The technology field] is a different world," Mr. Nadler said. "Focus is . . . one of the things that makes techies.com special. These people -- techies -- are special. They are extremely passionate about what they do; they are the next creative revolution. People used to make fun of them. We wanted to celebrate techies, to show how they're special and to show that techies.com gets it."
Because of the site's narrow focus, Mr. Tracy does not consider broader career sites such as Monster.com, CareerMosaic or HotJobs.com to be rivals.
Techies makes its money from companies or recruiters that pay an annual subscription, which ranges from $6,600 to $15,500, to list jobs. The site, which has no advertising, also makes money from job-related services.
FAILED TO MAKE RANKINGS
Of the 12 career sites tracked by Media Metrix, America Online's Workplace Channel ranked first with more than 4 million unique visitors in January, Monster.com was second with more than 3.5 million and CareerMosaic was third with 1.4 million. Techies.com lacked enough visitors to make the list.
But with financial backing from groups such as Crosslink Capital, CNET as well as private investors; plans to go public; co-branding arrangements with ZDNet and CNET, for which techies is the exclusive "career-related resource;" and plans to expand internationally, techies.com professes not to be concerned with the leaders in the larger career-site category.
"I don't think we have to worry about competing with them," Mr. Tracy said. "They are so broad and I think that's where they begin to lose value."