Upon further review, ad chief drops CareerBuilder

The chief executive of Chicago’s Cramer-Krasselt wasn’t monkeying around.

CEO Peter Krivkovich didn’t just drop the CareerBuilder.com advertising account in response to the job Web site putting the account up for review. Incensed at learning the review was spurred by the performance of CareerBuilder’s Super Bowl commercials in USA Today’s annual poll, Krivkovichtook the unusual step of writing an internal memo that tore apart the client his agency had spent the last five years building up.

“In our entire history, hell in the history of this crazy thing called advertising, I’m not sure there has ever been any thing as baseless or as unbelievable as that,” Krivkovich wrote in the memo, which was obtained by the Chicago Tribune and other media outlets. “It’s so ludicrous and they are so serious about that poll it’s almost funny.

“Being floored would be an understatement. We can proudly take credit for their success. … Despite all the great work and making them famous, their sole reason is, at best, unsophisticated, unbusiness like and from the standpoint of how to run a business, unprofessional. They may not be the kind of people we should do business with. Therefore we can’t justify any reason to participate in a review and have just notified them accordingly. … We’re moving on!”

A Cramer-Krasselt spokeswoman confirmed the authenticity of the memo but declined to elaborate.
A spokeswoman for Chicago-based CareerBuilder, jointly owned by USA Todayparent Gannett Co., Chicago Tribune parent Tribune Co. and McClatchy Co., would only confirm Cramer-Krasselt’s resignation and that the account is up for review.

With this year’s Super Bowl showcase, where CBS charged $2.6 million per30-second spot seen by an average of more than 90 million viewers, CareerBuilder turned its popular “Office Monkeys” campaign inside out. Rather than have a suffering office worker surrounded by monkeys, it placed officeworkers in the jungle. The company’s ads finished 16th, 27th and 28th out of57 spots tested by USA Today’s Ad Meter real-time consumer focus group.

CareerBuilder’s ads in the 2006 Super Bowl finished 12th and 13th in USAToday’s survey. Its Super Bowl commercials ranked Nos. 4, 5 and 6 in 2005.

During the five years Cramer-Krasselt has had the CareerBuilder account, the job site has gone from third in its category to surpassing Monster.com for first place in jobs posted, site traffic and revenue. Krivkovich’s memo says his firm helped drive up CareerBuilder traffic 43 percent and awareness by 64 percent even as Monster was outspending it.

Krivkovich also noted that, according to Nielsen, CareerBuilder enjoyed a 148 percent increase in site traffic after this year’s Super Bowl, the most of any advertiser in the telecast.

“To our amazement, to our total astonishment, all that astounding business success was less important than one poll,” Krivkovich wrote. “They wanted us to make them famous; we did that in spades. … But the TV ads did not make the top 10 in the USA Today poll–a poll that everyone knows doesn’t mirror results (see the continuing Bud sales decline for one!)–they just told us they will do a creative review.

“Wait a minute we said, what about the incredible growth that is going on, the shares, the revenue, the awareness, the two best internet sites ever, the massive buzz, etc, etc. What about all of that? That’s huge. `Yes,’ they responded, `but [Cramer-Krasselt] didn’t get the top ten in the USA Todaypoll.’ Hold on … we crushed every possible business metrics/barometer for success. Out of all the metrics and polls, it’s all about this one? You have to be … kidding, right!? `No, that’s it. It’s because of the poll.’ That was about the extent of the conversation.”

Apart from the Super Bowl, Cramer-Krasselt’s Monk-e-Mail viral effort, anonline marketing effort, was named best overall campaign of the year in tradepublication Adweek’s annual Buzz Awards last fall and was among the year’sbest and worst ads and other marketing gimmicks by The Wall Street Journal inDecember.
via archives.chicagotribune.com