CareerBuilder Backs Off On “R Rated” Video

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.

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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.

John Zappe is the editor of and a contributing editor of 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.


6 Comments on “CareerBuilder Backs Off On “R Rated” Video

  1. CareerBuilders is surely showing its sheer desperation over the droves of young job seekers flocking to the new-era providers who offer industry-leading features in line with today’s demands and technology.

    Why would anyone in a young career choose to use a board that returns a high-volume of results with the majority of positions non-relevant and absolutely no other benefits? There are job boards out there (I have trouble even thinking of them as job boards because they are so very different) that provide sophisticated candidate presentations, client qualifications that incorporate the emergent demand for both money / value fit, and functionality linked to mobile technology.

    How sad to try to APPEAR to be what this market segment wants instead of BECOMING what it wants. Even if you catch the fish, once they see how polluted the pond is, they are going to jump ship (LOL). I think I just felt another low rumble as the giant falls to its knees.

    Wendy Belancourt, CPRW
    Trend Resumes – The Interview Advantage

  2. Holy cow – I think I need a cigarette after WATCHING that video! And I don’t even smoke! I can see why they pulled it; creative, but not really appropriate.

  3. I’m close to the target demographic and thought it was great. Older people thinking it inappropriate is indicative of the problem of relating to younger job seekers who don’t.

    When I heard they pulled the video, I created a poll on the home page of my job board asking the question “Have you ever dipped your pen in the company ink well?” because I’d love more young workers in my resume database.

    Paul Pickthorne
    Chief Free Officer – 100% Free Job Board

  4. This was a great video and it stick with you throughout the day and that helps CareerBuilders exposure. I like companies that take risks with their viewers. It shows creativity and guts against its competitors. I would be worried if I was another job board. Maybe, they should start start sleeping with the employers and HR executives. Ha Ha. Is your job board sleeping around for you?

  5. That had to have been one of the dumbest ad ideas I have ever seen. Seriously, no thinking human can watch that video and believe it has any appropriate value in the employment marketplace.

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