Indeed’s New TV Commercial Gives Insight Into New Strategy Against Google for Jobs

Indeed has a new television ad. If you’re a basketball fan, you likely noticed it during the NCAA tournament this past weekend. If you’re not a fan, check it out here:

The ad is called “Sunny,” featuring the Bobby Hebb song of the same name. It was posted to YouTube about a week ago and has a modest 3,190 views at the time of this writing. Broadcast marketing is still a relatively new thing for Indeed, especially here in the states, but the company hasn’t been shy dating back to last year when it unleashed its “Search for Greatness” campaign, which I first wrote about here.

That initial campaign took aim at racism, agism, sexism, and a few other isms, sharing a message of inclusion by hoping to make recruiting a blind process instead of one riddled with prejudice. In light of a political embracing walls, it seemed like the right message at the right time. It also seemed like a solid strategy against the cold-and-corporate reality of Google for Jobs, by being all warm-and-fuzzy and creating an emotional connection to the company.

If the new ad is any indication, the “Search for Greatness” message wasn’t resonating, or maybe just ran out its welcome. The new campaign seems to be an attempt at positioning the company as a career platform, and not just a job search engine. In a world where Google is the Google of job search, it’s a tactic worth trying. Instead of “find a job” or “post your resume,” the new ad tells the story of a failed job seeker who turns into a dream candidate after an upgrade of skills and Indeed insights.

It’s a bit odd that the ad’s protagonist uses an old-school book to learn coding skills, instead of heading online, but maybe that’s the point since Indeed doesn’t currently teach coding, or any other skills (you can go to LinkedIn’s Lynda for that, but I digress). As perception is reality, if consumers think Indeed is a place to go and stick around as you go through your professional lifetime, then maybe it wins.

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In other words, Google is searching for jobs, but Indeed is your career home.

Sure, maybe it’s a bit of a stretch. And maybe it won’t work. Industry friend Jeff Dickey-Chasins, aka The Job Board Doctor, commented in a message, “Did you see the Indeed ads on the NCAA tourney? Was not impressed. Took half the ad to figure out what was going on. As I told my wife, if I have to think about what is going on, the ad has failed.”

Hey, what do you expect when Google jumps into your sandbox? The clock is ticking. There’s going to be panic and some spaghetti-throwing. Nevertheless, the ad gives us a window into Indeed’s strategy going forward. Now it just has to go acquire Degreed or Udemy or Codecademy or, hell, maybe all three, for the message to really make sense.

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 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.