CareerBuilder "Monkeys / Sales Aren't Up" by Cramer-Krasselt (2005/06) & "Business Trip" by inhouse
Job site CareerBuilder was a distant third in the US recruitment sector before Chicago agency Cramer-Krasselt used the 2005 Super Bowl as the launch pad for the hilarious "Monkeys" campaign. Over the course of several installments, the ads featured a cast of misbehaving chimps playing office workers who make the life of their solitary human colleague absolute misery. The concept was simple but brilliant. Don't work with monkeys: a better job awaits. Part-time copywriter Griffin Creech played the hapless human alongside a simian team from Bob Dunn's Animal Services in California. Not surprisingly, the ads proved a huge success with viewers, and the chimps returned the following year for Super Bowl 2006. They were accompanied this time by the Monk-e-Mail website, which allowed you to send customised email messages to your friends voiced by those same chimps. It was one of the online sensations of year, spawning 160m messages, and elevating CareerBuilder to the #1 recruitment site worldwide by value and visits. Helped by C-K's marketing push, CareerBuilder's sales grew sevenfold to over $700m in less than three years.
Yet all good things come to an end, and sadly this one ended in tears. C-K took a different angle for Super Bowl 2007, dropping the monkeys for a Gladiator-style battle royale between office workers in pursuit of a promotion. These ads were great too, and drove a big increase in post-game web traffic. But in just one survey - USA Today's panel of just 238 individual respondents - it failed to make the Top Ten. Days later and completely out of the blue, CareerBuilder called a review of the account. Stunned, C-K refused to participate, while also making public a furious internal memo in which CEO Peter Krivkovich voiced his amazement at the way the agency had been treated. Wieden & Kennedy inherited the account, but uncharacteristically their ads failed to have anything like the same impact. To add insult to Cramer-Krasselt's injury, CareerBuilder resurrected the monkeys for two final outings in 2011, developed inhouse. These spots - especially one in which our luckless human is forced to go on a business trip with his simian co-workers - were just as funny as their predecessors.