Adwatch (Feb 22) top 20 recall: Totaljobs.com

Ad's central character lacks charm and deflects focus from the brand's message

Totaljob.com strapline is strong but execution of the ad is flawed
Totaljob.com strapline is strong but execution of the ad is flawed

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I remember the chill of reading creative jobs sections in trade mags and newspapers way back during an earlier and seemingly darker incarnation of a recession (though in reality this is potentially the Daddy of all global recessions) to find that one week no-one had even bothered running one.  Because there weren’t any.  It was a gloomy feeling for a very young creative like myself at the time. These were after all your only visible avenues (bar door-stepping agencies) to finding a new position. Of course this was another world. A world of job-hunting with limited, established and uninspiring avenues.

Totaljobs.com lives in a totally different universe from before, where jobs are streamed and scattered forth into a digital wind. Positions fly at you from every avenue. Social networks, TV and tablets flash up various recruitment offerings desperate for your coveted email address. And now the all-conquering mobile is set to become your standard personal job shopper .

So the latest TV ad from TotalJobs.com aims to inform you of its new app but that message seems to be obscured by some screen-hogging, slightly incoherent, half Diva, half Ron Jeremy type character, representing ‘Luck’.

Apparently I’m not getting the simple app message. It’s buried under a family-sized serving of forced ‘quirkiness’. The overall positioning of ‘It’s not luck, it’s TotalJobs.com’, to me, is strong. I get it. I actually love it.

The embodiment of ‘Luck’ though in this and previous ads just leaves me cold. Maybe it’s because I want to like ‘Luck’ in some ‘oh he’s misguided but he’s still charming’ way. No charm with this guy. This ‘Luck’ character was, I’m sure, envisaged as a scene-stealer. Unfortunately he’s become a screen-stealer, visually mugging me of what’s an important message; another potential weapon for new and existing customer’s jobseeking armoury.

Don’t get me wrong. Love a bit of irreverence and the mischievous gods of advertising forbid we return to the soulless, bland and uninspiring recruitment platforms of yesteryear but this isn’t working for me. I know I’m not supposed to like his advice but frankly I just don’t even find him charmingly misguided which unfortunately makes me also question the brand that he hangs out with.

Maybe it’s just an executional point in that I can hardly make out what he’s saying in the commercial. Or maybe the ‘let’s do something quirky’ option was too tantalising and somehow some of the hard learned rules to making ‘quirky’ work got forgotten this time round (learned the hard way myself, executions best forgotten). Whatever it is, Totaljobs.com, I’m not totally convinced. Though I swear I thought I heard someone mention something about a new app? That sounded interesting.

Brand Strategy Verdict

Totaljobs.com  is an ambitious and entertaining brand and ‘It’s not Luck, it’s Total jobs.com’ is spot on. But when it comes to the new campaign character? Better ‘Luck’ next time.

6/10

Adwatch (Feb 22): Top 20 recall
Latest Feb-15 Brand Agency/TV Buyer Recall
rank       %
1 (–) Birds Eye  Abbott Mead Vickers
BBDO/Carat
61
2 (–) Vodafone  RKCR Y&R/OMD UK 52
3= (–) The Health
Lottery
 
In-house, DLKW Lowe/
Walker Media
45
3= (–) Asda  Saatchi & Saatchi/Carat 45
5= (–) Wickes  MWO/MEC 42
5= (–) Travelsuper
market.com
 
Mother/MediaCom 42
7 (–) Bet365.com  Drummond Central/
Feather Brooksbank
33
8 (–) Schwartz  Grey EMEA/MediaVest 32
9 (13=) Morrisons  DLKW Lowe/MEC 27
10= (–) Ryvita  Grey London/
ZenithOptimedia
22
10= (–) Totaljobs.com  VCCP/UM London
22
10= (–) Staples  Union Direct/MediaCom 22
13= -5 BT Vision  Abbott Mead Vickers
BBDO/Maxus
21
13= (–) Simplyhealth  MWO/Cut Communications 21
13= (–) Andrex Washlets  The Outfit/Mindshare 21
16= (9=) Argos  CHI & Partners/Mindshare 19
16= (–) Dreams  RKCR Y&R/Starcom 19
18= (–) Huggies  Ogilvy & Mather/Mindshare 18
18= (–) Calgon  Euro RSCG London/
ZenithOptimedia
18
18= (–) uSwitch.com  The Gate/MediaVest 18