Monday, February 6, 2012

Was CareerBuilder's chimp ad worth it?

So, how did CareerBuilder’s ad do? Was it worth the $3.5 million for 30 seconds? More to the point (since I couldn’t care less how CareerBuilder wastes its money), was it worth their continuing patronage of an abusive chimp training industry? Was it worth hurting chimpanzees and interfering with conservation education?
If CareerBuilder has any sense (which is questionable), they would be crying in their old, stale beer, left over from last night's advertising debacle. Their chimpanzee ad is getting panned by the critics who count.
The New York Times advertising columnist, Stuart Elliott, gave it a thumbs down. "CareerBuilder brought back its chimpanzees dressed as humans, meant to personify nitwit co-workers. But the only nitwits were the creators of the commercial, who ignored a growing belief on Madison Avenue that it is wrong to use live apes in ads," Elliot wrote in Super Bowl commercials, from charming to smarmy.
My FOXdc reports that “once again the job search website brought in chimpanzee coworkers for its ad, despite pleas to stop from animal rights activists,” as they named the ad as one of the five worst in Super Bowl Commercials: Best and Worst.
AdRant’s Brand Bowl 2012 named the CareerBuilder ad one of the five least effective. In an analysis of tweets, they found that the ad got a dreadful combination of low volume of chatter and low positive commentary.
I was trying to follow a couple of live blogs during the game, and I only saw one semi-positive comment, by a guy who said he laughed – and then apologized for it! (When your supporters apologize, you know you’re in trouble.)
So, I ask again, was it worth it to CareerBuilder? If I were sitting on the board of the Tribune Company, or Gannett (USA Today), or the one of the other owners of CareerBuilder, I’d have to seriously question the company’s leadership. Even more, if I were a client of CareerBuilder, I’d start looking – NOW – at I sure wouldn’t want a promotional partnership with a company that is very successful at one thing: making itself a subject of ridicule on Madison Avenue and Main Street.
I obviously haven't seen all of the commentary on the ad. If you've got a review to share, leave a comment below or send me an email at I'll post others as I find them.

Update: Even Global Animal, who gave a "paws up" to the widely opposed Skecher's ad, gave a decidedly "paws down" to CareerBuilder: "The one animal commercial that stuck a thorn in viewers sides (particularly PETA’s), was CareerBuilder’s return of the immature chimpanzees dressed as humans. Using live apes in ads has been frowned upon by Madison Avenue lately, yet CareerBuilder opted not to re-brand. PETA’s comment on the “immature chimpanzee” campaign put it best: “Yes, the chimpanzees are immature—that’s because they’re babies who should be with their mothers, not being forced to perform tricks for an ass-backwards company’s cruel and unimaginative Super Bowl ad.”

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