February was a great month for advertising and marketing experts. They got to sit and watch the Super Bowl, like the rest of us, then publicly rail against their colleagues and potential clients for creating such horrible commercials. Some of the most damaging criticism was reserved for CareerBuilder.com, which ran a series of ads featuring a world where "Lord of the Flies" meets "The Office". The reaction of the experts was so lackluster that, according to a recent CNN.com article , the agency responsible for creating the ads lost the account:
The company’s new ad campaign for this year’s Super Bowl, which substituted its lovable monkeys with an office as the jungle motif, flopped. The ads were rated poorly in several post-Super Bowl commercial reviews.
CareerBuilder subsequently decided to put its ad account up for review, a decision that enraged Chicago ad agency Cramer-Krasselt, the firm that not only created the new ads but was also responsible for the highly popular CareerBuilder chimp ads. Cramer-Krasselt wound up resigning the CareerBuilder account rather than go through a review.
But did the CareerBuilder ads really flop? As the final seconds of Super Bowl XLI ticked away, Compete invited thousands of our members to participate in an online survey to gauge the effectiveness of the real reason the game was played — the ads. Within 24 hours we had collected responses from over 1000 viewers. We tested their level of recall for several of the ads. Here’s what we found regarding CareerBuilder:
According to our numbers, between 17% and 21% of viewers recalled seeing the CareerBuilder ads and were able to accurately recall the name of the company without prompting. For all the claims of a "flop", it looks to me like the ads were effective. And traffic to the website certainly didn’t suffer as a result:
If you assume there were 130 million viewers watching the game, that translates to somewhere between 22 and 27 million people who will think of CareerBuilder in addition to Monster.com next time they want to look for a job. I’ll take that sort of flop any day.