CareerBuilder is bringing back the chimps. This is a fascinating decision and a very smart move. Owning an engaging creative idea is incredibly valuable.
In 2005, CareerBuilder bought its first Super Bowl ad, running two charming commercials which featured a crew of chimps and the lines “Want a new job? We’ve got the most.” These humorous and distinctive spots helped build the CareerBuilder brand.
The following year, CareerBuilder ran the chimps campaign again, an entertaining spot featuring chimps and donkeys. Once again, the advertising was unique and impactful. At this point the chimps started to become an important part of the CareerBuilder brand.
But, in 2007, CareerBuilder changed course and decided to run different creative. The job search engine ran spots featuring a jungle. They were entertaining but lacked the magic of the chimps. I suspect there were a lot of factors behind the decision, including a bit of nervousness about the chimps’ affect on brand equity.
Over the past four years, CareerBuilder has struggled to recreate the magic of the chimps. In 2008, CareerBuilder hit its advertising low point when it ran polarizing ads, one featuring a heart leaping out of a woman’s chest.
CareerBuilder rebounded in 2009 with an ad portraying how much some people hated their job, and continued the momentum in 2010 with a fairly good consumer-generated spot that featured people with no pants.
Most importantly, the chimpanzee idea is grounded in a consumer insight: sometimes we all feel like we work with a bunch of monkeys.
I suspect CareerBuilder will do well in the Kellogg Super Bowl Advertising Review this year. Simply by running the chimps, CareerBuilder should get strong scores on three elements of the ADPLAN framework: awareness, distinction and net equity.