A Job Site for '$100K+ People': Avoid the Commoners

Fee-based TheLadders Takes Shot at 'Cluttered' CareerBuilder, Monster in New Work From Fallon

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- A new campaign for TheLadders.com -- a fee-based jobs site aimed at putting high earners in high-paying jobs -- paints category leaders CareerBuilder and Monster as overrun with unattractive commoners.
The Ladders ad

TheLadders' tone is markedly different from that of CareerBuilder and Monster, which have tended to focus on job seekers' unhappiness at their current workplaces.

A print, online and TV campaign from newly hired agency Fallon, Minneapolis, shows a tennis court mobbed by too many players, many of whom, a closer inspection shows, are either overweight, elderly, poorly groomed or dressed shabbily. "Quick, find the most talented player," the print copy reads. "[Ordinary job-search sites] let everybody play, so nobody wins."

The exclusive, country-club attitude befits TheLadders' business model. Unlike the larger and better-known jobs sites, it costs $180 a year (or $30 a month) to use and restricts membership and listings to "$100k+ people looking for $100k+ jobs."

1.7 million registered
The site boasts 1.7 million registered readers or subscribers (though not all are paying) and typically features about 70,000 active job listings. CareerBuilder, which uses a free model, attracts about 22 million unique visitors a month.

The tone of its spots, Chief Marketing Officer Robert Turtledove said, is markedly different from those used by CareerBuilder and Monster, which have tended to focus on job seekers' unhappiness at their current workplaces. "So much of it is 'I'm surrounded by monkeys or jackasses' or 'It's a jungle out there.' It's a bit negative," Mr. Turtledove said, ticking through recent CareerBuilder slogans. "We're telling people, 'There's a place where you can stand out.' We're not saying, 'Hey, your life sucks.'"

Fallon Executive Creative Director Al Kelly said the campaign tries to incorporate humor so as to appear exclusive but not elitist. "Being exclusive without charm is elitist, and that's not what we want the brand to be about," he said.

$18 million media budget
Fallon beat out TBWA/Chiat/Day and DiMassimoGoldstein in a review for the account, which is estimated to spend about $18 million in measured media this year. The campaign kicked off with print ads earlier this week and soon will run on TV and online.

A spokeswoman for CareerBuilder, which is debuting new work from its own new agency, Wieden & Kennedy, at next month's Super Bowl, declined to comment on TheLadders' contention that the site was too crowded.

"We're focused on our own campaign and the value we bring to our users," she said. "The growth of our company speaks for itself."
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