New Monster Ad Campaign Goes Global to Reach the Discontented

Monster is launching a worldwide branding campaign complete with TV ads that evoke memories of its darkly effective 1999 campaign “When I Grow Up.”

The 2008 version is tagged “Your Calling is Calling.” Breaking just as the new year begins, the campaign seems aimed at the dissatisfied passive job-seeker needing just a nudge to move into the ranks of the actively searching.

“Monster’s new brand is designed to resonate with ‘life enthusiasts’,” explains a company spokesman. “The brand is designed to position Monster as a resource for helping this group reach their life goals; by extension it also promises employers access to, and better visibility before, top talent around the world.”

How the campaign will resonate in parts of the world where cultural pressures are more to fit in than to break out remains to be seen. However, in the U.S. and U.K. where the first TV commercials and print ads began appearing this week, the message may well prove as effective as the 1999 campaign, which helped propel Monster to the head of a crowded online recruitment pack. The memorable TV spots had stark black and white video of children talking into the camera with lines such as: “When I grow up, I want to be a brown nose”; or, “I want to be in middle management.”

The ad, which first appeared during the 1999 Super Bowl, has been voted one of the 10 all time best ads.

Monster’s 2008 campaign doesn’t include the Super Bowl, though rival CareerBuilder will have two 30-second spots that corporate spokesperson Jennifer Grasz says are still under wraps for now.

One of Monster’s first two ads, however, has already made it to YouTube. “Slots” shows workers passively being whisked along tracks as they take the same commute day in and day out to work. The commercial ends with a young man slowly weaving among the automatons while the words “Find your own path” appear on the screen, followed by the campaign tagline and the Monster logo. The commercial was shot in black and white by legendary commercial director Frank Budgen, winner of Cannes Grand Prix.

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The second commercial now airing was made by Danish photojournalist turned director Nicolai Fuglsig. “Daybreak” shows a town of people grabbing weapons and shields to ward off the start of a Monday morning. Unsuccessful, they return home to get ready for work as the words “Don’t fight Monday” appears.

All four of the commercials, the two running now and two more to appear later in the campaign, were directed by award-winning commercial directors. In addition to Budgen and Fuglsig, Daniel Kleinman and Rupert Sanders were brought in by Monster’s ad agency, BBDO, which itself only won the Monster account in September.

While the TV commercials and ads may be the most visible part of the Monster campaign, the company has taken other steps to help shift its brand as a site to go to look for a job to one more consistent with a lifelong career development approach. The Monster site itself has been redesigned to prominently highlight the “Your Calling is Calling” campaign, which just happens to subordinate many of the career content elements it promotes, while keeping the job search as prominent as ever. Another consequence of the redesign is to extend the page well below the fold. Overall, the sense of the new homepage is of a site with more activity.

Monster’s new ad campaign almost overshadowed today’s announcement that it has acquired Affinity Labs Inc., a firm that operates seven industry-oriented community and job sites for $61 million in cash. Those properties include The Apple.com, a site3 for educators, and PoliceLink.com, FireLink.com and NursingLink.com. Affinity Labs was founded by Christopher Michel, who launched Military.com which Monster bought in 2004.

Monster’s stock at midday today was at $27.51, a two-year low.

John Zappe is the editor of TLNT.com and a contributing editor of ERE.net. John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.

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