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Barbara Lippert's Critique

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With the big job at the White House still up for grabs, it seemed a good time to survey the "career sites'' market and the new work for HotJobs.com. George and Al might consider taking a peek—it's always wise to have, as my grandmother would say, something to fall back on. Although she could never have imagined that in this case the outcome would depend on pregnant chad.

As dot-coms come and go, though, the crowded job site category seems to be vigorous; certainly, some classic advertising has come from it. In fact, Ralph Nader's little- seen second ad—the first was a Mastercard parody—was an inspired takeoff of the now-famous Monster.com spot from the Super Bowl two years ago.

In black and white, "When I Grow Up'' showed kids offering straight-faced lines to the camera about the joys of dead-end middle- management jobs. The Nader ad had the kids speaking cynically about politics to the same effect.

"Ted's Resume,'' the most recent Monster.com spot, shows the world wooing Ted with enough flowers and fruit baskets to fill a funeral home after he posts his resume on Monster. "Since 'Ted's Resume" debuted, Monster.com experienced a 33 percent increase in resumes posted daily," the company announced. By the way, Monster fired its agency, Mullen, one week before issuing that statement.

Another contender in this competitive category, jobs.com, last spring ran a TV campaign featuring self-promoting blowhard Tom Peters exclaiming about life and death with images of a cemetery, trees chopped down and a dead bug. It was supposed to turn the viewer from a passive job seeker into an active one.

Although anything would be an improvement over HotJobs' previous stuff (the deeply unfortunate giant digital hand), what is refreshing about this new work, the first from Weiss Stagliano Partners, is that it's about healthy resolve, not future regret. It's aspirational, confident, optimistic—an emotionally satisfying new start.

Three new spots were produced (one is slated to run on the Super Bowl). The first, "Swim,'' uses stock footage and is clever, but it looks like something you'd do quickly in-house to get the account. There's no suggestion of a job future in Dilbertland, but rather, something much more primal and universal: The great graphic moment of conception, sperm-meeting-egg, set to Wagner's "Flight of the Valkyrie."

"The attitude that got you here, can get you anywhere," the super reads. Then we get the tagline: "Onward. Upward." The footage is fascinating in a Discovery Channel way. Now, maybe I'm viewing it too literally. But divorcing it from the biological imperative/miracle of conception angle and looking at it as a metaphor for the job market, as the fertile minds of the creators intended, is alienating to me as a woman.

We watch all these little Arnold Schwarzeneggers busily swimming upstream, pumping pumping pumping, going higher, faster, stronger, killing themselves with ambition and the need to beat the competition, as the big egg just sits there waiting for the hero sperm. No wonder Betty Friedan had to write The Feminine Mystique.

Indeed, "Chicken," the second spot, features a chick sent out into the world. We see beautiful shots of fresh eggs being inspected, washed and dried. One of the eggs cracks, and the occupant busts out of the factory and makes tracks. "Follow your instincts,'' the super says.

Still, I don't see how the ads set HotJobs apart from others in the category. The work, however, exudes a great big graphic feeling of confidence. And that can't hurt. HotJobs.com

Agency

Weiss Stagliano

Partners

"Swim"/"Chicken"

Chief Creative Officer Marty Weiss

Assoc. Creative Officers

Zach Watkins

Rick Condos

Art Directors

Todd Gallentine "Swim"

Jim De Corpo "Chicken"

Copywriter

Dave Holloway

Producer

Colleen Wellman

Director-"Chicken"

Larry Frey/Radical Media