CareerBuilder Backs Off On “R Rated” Video

May 12, 2008
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

Have a boring, crappy job? Do your co-workers celebrate your birthday in the morning with a half-hearted singing of the Birthday song? Are you pegged as the guy who mooches other people’s snacks from the office fridge?

Post your resume to CareerBuilder (profile; site) and your troubles will be solved.

That’s the message of a series of edgy, truthy enough animated videos produced by Wieden+Kennedy for CareerBuilder.

With the intent to “engage jobseekers with our content,” CareerBuilder VP of Consumer Marketing Richard Castellini says the job board’s ad agency came up with the Office Worker Survival Series. Aimed at younger workers frustrated with their current job, the videos cost $20,000 each to produce and are posted to such sites as You Tube , College Humor , Metacafe and Revver .

Intentionally irreverent, even suggestive, certainly humorous, the campaign’s goal is to spread the CareerBuilder brand by the online version of word-of-mouth. Get the 21-30 year-olds to post their resumes and apply to jobs on CareerBuilder and the campaign will be a success. But it’s a throw of the dice whether this approach will work, which is why Castellini says this is more of an experiment than a fully-baked campaign.

“We want to see what is the best way to engage” younger workers, he says as he points out that traditional media audiences get smaller and older each year. “It’s an experimental campaign.”

The envelope got pushed pretty far with the fourth installment titled “Getting Your Affairs In Order. ” The subtitle – “An Affirmation of Sexual Relations …” – helps explain why blogger Joel Cheesman called it “R rated.” If you watch it be aware it is full of sexual innuendo, some of it so overt it borders on the pornographic.

The video was taken down shortly after it was posted to You Tube, but not before some 400 people had seen it and apparently raised Cain with CareerBuilder. We captured it from an online site to which it had spread, just as a viral campaign is supposed to.

Still, the overall message of the videos has some troubling overtones, says Gerry Crispin. The well-known CareerXroads recruiting consultant told us the videos, funny they may be, send the message that changing jobs is the answer to all office problems.

“They are teaching them to solve problems by going to CareerBuilder and quitting their job,” Crispin observed. “Just the kind of worker every employer wants.”

While the campaign may tickle the millennials, those who act on the message and go look for another job because they aren’t popular with their co-workers or their cubicle is next to the microwave are “not the kind of person I want to hire,” Crispin says. “I don’t think (the subliminal messages) is intentional,” he adds, “But they weren’t thinking very deeply about this.”

Castellini’s response? “Gerry’s just thinking too hard. There’s a multitude of reasons people change jobs.” The videos are meant to be exactly what they seem, he says, light and whimsical brand builders.

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.
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