The “Dot-Com Bowl,” as 2000’s Super Bowl XXIV came to be known in ad circles and beyond, didn’t just fill the commercial pods with online services of all sorts. It led to a head-to-head-to-head battle among online employment services Monster.com, HotJobs.com and Kforce.com.
Under pressure to repeat the success of its 1999 ad “When I Grow Up,” Monster.com turned to Robert Frost poetry ("The Road Less Traveled"). Needing to make an impact in the face of more-established rivals, Kforce essentially went after them by name ("Looking for a Job").
For its part, HotJobs was also following up a 1999 Super Bowl ad ("Security Guard"), but had less than Monster.com to live up to, and Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann-Erickson out of Troy, Mich., used the freedom to draft the internet’s ubiquitous hand-shaped cursor as the company mascot. HotJobs was the only one of the job sites to land among the game’s most effective ads, at least by one survey. Watch to see “a good, hard sell” and “ingenious expropriation” of the hand icon for HotJobs, as our reviewer put it that year; listen for the voice of Samuel L. Jackson.
The following year saw repeat appearances by HotJobs.com ("Gravity Balls") and Monster.com ("Happy Guy," "Business Card") but Kforce.com back on the sidelines.