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Monster.com Finds Its Match in Johnson

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After getting her own job on the site, marketing svp aims to make client a global icon

After 22 years in marketing, sales and business development at Gillette in Boston, Carole Johnson was looking for a new environment. So in November she logged onto Monster.com and created a profile for prospective employers.

About a month later, a response came from Monster itself, saying the company had the perfect job for her: the top marketing position at the Maynard, Mass., job-search and recruitment Web site.

Johnson, 48, joined as Monster's svp of marketing a month ago, with the client in the midst of an ad agency review.

Monster CEO Jeff Taylor said he interviewed about a dozen people for the position after Johnson's predecessor, Peter Blacklow, left in January. "She was head and shoulders above the other candidates," Taylor said, citing her experience with Gillette, where Johnson most recently oversaw all marketing and sales for shaving, personal-care and Oral-B oral-hygiene products, as well as Braun appliances and Duracell batteries.

In that post, as vp of business services and commercial operations in North America, Johnson worked with Gillette's lead shop, Omnicom's BBDO in New York.

Johnson, who hold a B.S. in journalism and an M.B.A. from Northwestern University in Chicago, said she was attracted to the less staid environment of an Internet company. "Monster has the kind of culture they write about in articles but is rarely seen in workplaces," she said, praising the collaborative nature of the 40-person department she oversees and the company's "young, energetic staff."

Johnson is looking for an agency to make Monster into a global icon for a range of employees: Professional, blue-collar and hourly wage workers are all targets.

While in past years advertising was geared mainly toward professionals, a commercial from three-year incumbent Arnold that debuted on this year's Super Bowl featured a tractor driving itself through a field. The message: "Somewhere a trucking company needs a driver. Somewhere a driver needs a job." The spot retained the 2-year-old tagline, "Never settle," and the client's original Trumpasaurus icon.

Johnson said she plans to make a final decision in the review by the end of July. Arnold, a Havas shop, is not defending the account, which has a global marketing budget of about $100 million. (Last year Monster spent about $30 million on advertising in the U.S., according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.)

While Monster has always relied heavily on TV advertising, the company has also used less traditional media outlets, such as blimps and crop mazes. Johnson said while she does not yet know what forms of media she would like to use, she wants to "cast the net wider" in terms of possibilities, she said.

Traditional advertising and event sponsorships are still a big part of the plan. "Monster is a 'superbrand'—we market Monster as a brand the same way General Foods markets Maxwell House," said Johnson, a West Virginia native who lives in Charlestown, Mass., with her two daughters.

Public relations, via Weber Shandwick in Cambridge, Mass., and direct marketing, handled by PreVision Marketing in Lincoln, Mass., will also continue to play a role, said Johnson.