Monster Back in Super Bowl to Get Yardage for Redesign

Hoping to score big with a Web site redesign due next month, job board giant Monster is re-entering the Super Bowl ad game.

As part of a new partnership with the National Football League, Monster Worldwide plans to air an ad during the much-watched broadcast. Monster also says a promotion will be launched during the February 1 event that the company expects will “drive traffic to”

The moves mark the first time since 2004 that Monster will have a presence in the NFL’s championship game and set up a marketing showdown with rival, which plans to runs two ads in the upcoming Super Bowl.

Monster intends to use the Super Bowl to draw attention to a site relaunch timed for January 10. But analysts have mixed views on whether Monster is likely to win in the big game.

Steve Weinstein, equity analyst at investment firm Pacific Crest Securities, doubts Monster has much to gain with a Super Bowl ad. “They’re already a fairly well-known brand,” Weinstein said. “It doesn’t seem to me that that’s a great opportunity.”

Recruitment industry consultant Gerry Crispin, though, applauds Monster’s Super Bowl steps.

He said the company’s ad presence during the broadcast years ago helped establish both the modern job ad market and Monster’s prominence.

“It’s about time,” he said of Monster’s return to the event. “Monster was really the first to go out in a big way and say recruitment advertising is a big deal.”

The Super Bowl typically attracts more than 80 million viewers, and its pricey ads are highly anticipated. This year, those spots are likely to be watched by throngs of people looking for work. In another sign of a cratering U.S. economy, payroll employment plunged by 533,000 jobs in November as the unemployment rate rose to 6.7 percent.

The recession threatens Monster’s revenue from employer job ads. But Monster chief executive Sal Iannuzzi has pledged to use the downturn to expand market share and has laid out an expansive vision of becoming a hub for careers and hobbies.

Monster in November announced a multiyear marketing and sponsorship deal with the NFL, through which it became the “official career services sponsor” of the league. Monster declined to disclose terms of the pact.

The firm’s Super Bowl marketing will focus partly on Monster’s face-lift. On January 10, will feature new career management tools and a new site experience, says Louis Gagnon, the company’s senior vice president for job seeker products. The upgrade adopts a principle found at social networking sites such as Facebook, Gagnon said.

“What we’ve done is moved Monster from being job-centric to being user-centric,” he said.

Gagnon said the new site will be less cluttered and will allow users to add content to career profiles. The retooling, he said, should improve Monster’s appeal to “passive” job seekers—thus increasing the impact ads have on that sought-after audience.

The grand stage of the Super Bowl is perfect for highlighting Monster’s huge changes, Gagnon said. “The spot and the promotion are going to deliver the message that there’s a new Monster,” he said.