Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Chutes and Ladders

When Quivering posted about NetJets the other day, I was reminded of another ad I'd seen - mostly during golf, tennis, and other theoretically "classy" events that might draw a lot of high-end viewership. Oddly, this ad also has a tennis theme:

Have you ever, in your life, seen anything this snooty? This is NOKD advertising to the max. Make more than 100 grand? Great, come on in. Make less than 100 grand? You can fuck right off. TheLadders' site even says as much. Currently making under $75K? Maybe HotJobs is a better idea for you, plebeian. (In 2006, less than 20% of households had combined income of more than $100,000, and that's total household income. I doubt TheLadders accepts dual applications.)

It's not even the idea so much as how TheLadders chooses to display it in this commercial. So you've got the blue-chipper at center court in his immaculate white tennis outfit. Then you have the crowd run onto the court. TheLadders thinks that people who make less than $75,000 a year are comparable to:

* Squat, bespectacled individuals who can barely swing a racket
* Long-haired slacker teens hitting tennis balls with skateboards
* Blonde bimbos applying lipstick in a compact mirror while they should be playing tennis
* Shirtless old guys with unkempt white hair
* Nerdy fat dudes swinging their briefcases wildly
* Dumpy dudes getting hit with tennis balls and collapsing to the clay

I guess if I worked in the HR department at, I don't know, Merrill Lynch or something, I would be annoyed if I were constantly sifting through the resumes of 65-year-old homeless men and 17-year-old kids whose only previous job experience was working second shift at Cold Stone Creamery. But is this really happening?

Voiceover: "If you think about it, this is the trouble with most job search sites."

No screening process to keep mentally ill homeless men from firing off resumes left and right?

Voiceover: "When you let everyone play, nobody wins."

Are the HR departments at high-rolling companies really having this problem? I've gotta think that most people who aren't qualified for six-figure jobs probably aren't wasting their own time trying to apply for them. And how long does it take to decide a resume doesn't have what you're looking for if it's way off the mark? Ten seconds?

Voiceover: "Join TheLadders - the premium job site for only 100K+ jobs, and only 100K+ people."

Only 100,000 people, give or take a few, can use it? Is this site run by Jehovah's Witnesses?

Okay, so maybe the point of the ad isn't to push companies away from all the losers on regular job sites (although I think that's a secondary point). Maybe it's to push people looking for high-rollin' jobs away from the regular job sites, where there's too much noise in the form of sketchy companies clogging up the results screen. In my (limited) experience with those sites, that's true to a degree... but it's true for everyone, and I'm sure it's much more true if you're not looking for a job that pays six figures. In other words, TheLadders is targeted at people who already have all the advantages and aiming to give them even more of an advantage, by streamlining their job search and minimizing the indignity of having to troll through postings like a common street rat. ("One site above all the riff raff / One search to cut through the throng / If you make five figures then you don't belong... / One place that's only for big shots / Not kids of level 'Entry' / Next life, you won't major in historyyyyyy...")

Of course, TheLadders probably doesn't care how snooty this ad comes off. What are they going to do - lose the business of the people they're insulting? They didn't want it to begin with! Talk about a win-win situation. (How many of the people appearing in that ad would be qualified to use TheLadders, by the way? I'm thinking zero.)

I don't know, is it ironic that the site is called TheLadders, when you already have to be most of the way up the ladder to use it? If you aren't qualified for a $100K job, it's onto the chute and back to start for you. Let's bust out a game more your speed - say Candy Land? I hear Lord Licorice is looking for temps to work up on Gum Drop Mountain.


Quivering P. Landmass said...

I think this would be a great ad if it ended at the :30 second mark, and the voiceover said something like, "A job site for people who want 100K jobs." Just a tweaking in the verbiage, so it doesn't seem like they hate the hoi polloi so much. Nowhere on that site does it say anything like "If you make under $75K, come back in a few years when you're making more money! Stick with it, you can do it!" It's very dismissive, and I think that's the problem. It's like they think there are a set number of people who are worthy of their site, and it ignores the possibility of others moving up the ladder.

In my experience, most people with $100K+ jobs got them through headhunters or through networking. I doubt there are a lot of legitimate C-level jobs listed on Ladders.

Tyler said...

Despite the snootiness of the message and intent, for some reason I think the actual look of this ad is appealing. They could have toned down some of the "characters" I guess, but I think the flooding of the court with people is neat.