Indeed Goes Anti-Google and Aims for the Heartstrings in New Ad Campaign

Indeed has always been a poster child of efficiency and minimalism. Through the years, while competitors became increasingly cluttered, Indeed stood, and continues to stand, firm to the ideal that less is more. Adhering to Google’s design playbook, it turns out, is good business for search engines of all kinds.

Indeed is a tech-first company with an aggressive sales team supporting it. Similarly, marketing has taken its cue from technology and focused on results instead of the typical warm-and-fuzzies of building an emotional brand. Giving consumers the most jobs in the quickest and most painless manner has served the company well up till now.

The world is changing, however. It’s gettin’ kinda hectic. On one hand, we’re fearful of globalism, terrorism, automation, and immigration. On the other hand, we’re tearing down parts of our unsavory past, embracing those who’ve been hurt by natural disasters and bidding adieu to the ‘bro’ culture in Silicon Valley.

“For many of us, after family and health, a job is the most important thing in our lives. Not only does it provide a livelihood, but it connects us to others and helps us all have an impact in the world,” said Paul D’Arcy, Indeed’s SVP of marketing, in a blog post. “In an ideal world, then, opportunities should be available to all based on their skills and abilities.”

The new ad campaign is called “Search for Greatness,” and takes aim at racism, agism, sexism, and a few other isms, sharing a message of inclusion by hoping the make recruiting a blind process instead of one riddled with prejudice.

“We at Indeed believe that most recruiters and employers share this belief, and are passionate advocates for talent,” the company said. “But — unfortunately — things don’t always work out that way. After all, hiring is an imperfect process, and too often bias and stereotypes can make great candidates feel invisible.

“Indeed’s core mission of helping people get jobs hasn’t changed since the company was founded in 2004. We want to help all people get jobs, and so for our new advertising campaign, we decided to tackle this issue head on — by focusing on the attributes by which people are often judged, while highlighting the opportunities in front of us to discover the powerful combination of skills, passions, and experience.”

Here’s one of the ads.

Indeed - Search for Greatness

Indeed Advertisement – Search for Greatness

The new campaign not only comes at a time when the world needs a hug, even if it comes from a job site, but at a time when Indeed needs to break free from its brutally efficient, yet cold-and-corporate DNA. And you have Google, Indeed’s newest and scariest competitor, to thank for the move, in large part.

Indeed can’t out-Google Google. With its Google for Jobs initiative, the world’s most popular search engine is quickly driving the value of job postings, and thus the value of Indeed, lower and lower. It’s commoditization, baby, and when commoditization rears its ugly head, the marketers come out of the woodwork, hoping to create an emotional connection with consumers.

The sugar water Coke and Pepsi are selling is essentially the same. The burgers at McDonald’s and Burger King are too. So they need you to feel a certain way when you consume their product. TOMS is just a shoe, but if you put helping third-world populations behind their value proposition, then you feel better about using them. A connection is created within the commodity.

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Indeed is doing this now. It knows in order for consumers to stick with it, or choose it over a competing service, that it needs to pull on the heartstrings. If using Indeed means equality for all, then choosing it becomes an emotional decision instead of a logical one. It’s the right strategy. Only time will tell if it’ll work.

“In creating this ad, we wanted to share something that would resonate with job seekers,” said D’Arcy in a promotional video. “We wanted to showcase the idea that everyone deserves to be evaluated based on their skills and experience.” They’re also hoping people will start thinking of a job site as more than just a job site, and more like a political statement, a movement.

The only job site that comes to mind who got close to an emotional connection was Monster’s first Super Bowl ad, the one where our inner-children reminded us that we were destined for something bigger than the cubicles we occupied throughout the work week. The movement back then was a wave of change driven by the Internet. The movement today feels a lot more important, and Indeed is giving itself a solid chance of hitting the right nerve at the right time.

Joel Cheesman

Joel Cheesman has over 20 years experience in the online recruitment space. He worked for both international and local job boards in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s. In 2005, Cheesman founded HRSEO, a search engine marketing company for HR, as well as launching an award-winning industry blog called Cheezhead. He has been featured in Fast Company and US News and World Report. He sold his company in 2009 to Jobing.com. He was employed by EmployeeScreenIQ, a background check company. He is the founder of Ratedly, an app that monitors anonymous employee reviews. He is married and the father of three children. He lives in Indianapolis.