Monster and HotJobs.com are readying their 30-second spots for broadcast Jan. 26 on ABC from San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium. They may be the only two dot-coms from a field of 17 who shelled out millions of dollars for exposure just a few years ago before the big bust.
It’s not only the year’s most expensive TV but it’s also well watched. Last year’s event drew a 40.4 rating and a 61 share. That’s between 100 million and 130 million people tuning in.
For Monster and HotJobs.com, it’s all about the eye balls.
“You have job seekers that are very receptive to your message and companies that have new hiring budgets for the year. Both of our audiences are ramped up to hear our message,” said Marc Karasu, VP of advertising at HotJobs.com.
Interest in the message rivals or surpasses interest in the football game itself. “Did you see the commercials?” seems more the question around water coolers Monday morning than “Did you see that play?”
“They watch more or as much to see the commercials as they do the Super Bowl itself,” Karasu said.
Neither Monster nor HotJobs.com will discuss how much they’re paying for a 30-second spot. Karasu said it’s about 5% of HotJobs.com’s annual marketing budget. But he also said it’s difficult to measure CPM-wise.
“This is the one event where the audience is looking for your message, and it’s hard to factor that into CPM,” he said.
Both companies have an easy way to determine whether their ads were effective. Each site saw a dramatic jump in online registrations and other traffic metrics after last year’s event. Both companies have bought Super Bowl spots for the past five years.
“As an Internet company, we’re fortunate that we have real-time results,” said Kellie Buckley, director of marketing communications at Monster. Monster’s site traffic shot up 167% the day after the game and resume submittals, usually about 30,000 a day, were about 45,000 a day. HotJobs.com had similar growth.
But even though the companies compete against each other in their primary business and on Super Bowl Sunday, the 30-second spots serve different purposes in their marketing strategy. Monster uses the Super Bowl to kick off its new advertising campaign. Last year’s Super Bowl provided an opportunity for Monster to talk about its sponsorship of the Olympics, which were to start a few days later.
“We never do only do Super Bowl advertising. We use it as the launch,” Buckley said.
For HotJobs.com, the Super Bowl spot is one of the many online and offline efforts. Those marketing efforts are boosted by Yahoo’s purchase of HotJobs.com, which Karasu said has opened new functionality and opportunities.
“The Super Bowl is part of a bigger media mix for us … It’s not a one-all. We have promotions built around our presence, integrated around Yahoo and it’s not a new campaign or a one-off ad,” he said. It also does a lot of print and television, both network and cable.
And while there’s a lot of cache surrounding the Super Bowl ads, neither Buckley nor Karasu say that’s the reason why their companies make sure they advertise.
“We don’t do it because it’s sexy but because it makes sense,” Karasu said.
And both draw meaning in surviving and thriving.
“I think the dot-coms that are left on the Super Bowl, they are the ones who have business plans that work and there’s a real benefit why they are there,” Karasu said.
Monster’s creative, planning and buying agency is Arnold in Boston. HotJobs.com’s creative agency is Brand Architecture International, a division of Omnicom and its planning and buying agency is Horizon Media in New York.