The campaign conceptualised by Innocean Worldwide aims to position the job portal as not just a job provider, but also a career enhancement company. The innovative campaign grabbed eyeballs and evoked mixed reactions
Conceptualised by Innocean Worldwide, the TimesJobs campaign launched on July 27 has grabbed a lot of attention on social media. As the part of the integrated campaign, a print ad, OOH, social media initiative and a television commercial were launched. Two teasers were also launched to build curiosity among viewers ahead of the commercial.
In the teasers, a girl, in a ‘pleasing’ voice, says, ‘I spent some time with CEO’. She then looks down, takes a pause and says, ‘…and got a promotion’, suggesting that she got a promotion as she associated herself with the CEO. The print ad goes the same way. The ad depicts a woman who ‘spent some time with the CEO and got a promotion’.
The ad, at first instance, seems to be cheesy, but has a witty twist attached to it. Most of us would first think ‘the other way round’ and form opinions. Then comes the humorous part in the ad: For Times Jobs, CEO stands for ‘Career Enhancement Officer’! This was intended to mark the transition of TimesJobs from being a mere job portal to a career adviser.
The social media buzz and the interest of people in a rather unusual hashtag #IndiasMostLovedCEO made it trend on Twitter on the day of the launch. Interesting guesses were seen floating on who could be this most-loved CEO of India with some witty exchanges too.
After the teaser, the company launched a full-fledged commercial where not just females but also males had a role to play. In the commercial, two girls fooled a man by telling him of getting a promotion with the help of the CEO. They incite the man to go to the CEO and ask for a promotion. The man goes to the CEO and asks for a promotion but the CEO shouts at him instead. Towards the end of the film, the girls let out the abbreviation of CEO as ‘Career Enhancement Officer’ and have their share of laugh.
Saurabh Dasgupta, National Creative Director, Innocean Worldwide, said, “Our effort has been to bring alive the advantages career-seekers can get by getting the CEO – Career Enhancement Office – on their side. The users of the site are mature career builders who are looking at real world insights and not some verbiage. Hence we have stayed true to the product promise and strengths.”
Dasgupta added, “The pun is around the right ‘CEO’ and spending time with the CEO or taking help from the CEO.”
The marketing objective was sharpened to relaunch the portal with a new feel and purpose. It also highlights specific aspects of TimesJobs such as company reviews, salary benchmarking, interview insights and skill assessment, going beyond other competitors’ offerings.
Nilanjan Roy, Head of Strategy, Times Business Solutions, said, “Now the job seekers want to take decisions based on long-term growth and not short-term gains. Aspects such as company culture, work-life balance, career growth prospects, role adaptability and role transitions, all play a significant part in making career choices. TimesJobs has transformed to address their needs.”
Innocean undertook the task with a deep dive into the mind of the prospects, which included both the career seekers and the career providers as in heads of HR and talent acquisition. Their needs and the product’s key aspects were cross mapped for synergies to arrive at the insight that would propel the brand forward.
Vikas Deep Verma, Product and Marketing Head, TimesJobs, said, “High-performance professionals who may not be looking for jobs still actively seek resources that provide them intelligence around companies, provide personal skill assessments, give interview insights and benchmark their salary against industry norms. We have pivoted to provide all these services into one complete solution. We also provide the largest collection of jobs if they do decide to actively pursue a change.”
The Twitter Troll
‘Did no one at TimesJobs proof this ad before it was released?’ asked one Twitter user.
The ad was presumably being clever about using the abbreviation CEO not as chief executive officer but as Career Enhancement Officer – a term that the company used to describe itself in the copy. But social media users didn’t see it that way. The copy seemed to suggest a woman boasting that she’d go ahead by associating with the Chief Executive Officer.
The conversation soon snowballed into a discussion about other instances of sexism by the company and whether it was an error on the part of the ad agency or TimesJobs itself.
Countering the troll over Twitter, Vivek Srivastava, Jt. Managing Director, Innocean Worldwide, said, “The intent of this campaign is single-minded: establish TimesJobs equal to the CEO, i.e., Career Enhancement Officer. The usage of CEO is meant to make it impactful. No hidden meaning or intonations. Any intent to call it sexist or some such thing is purely motivated and in bad taste. I would go a step further and say it exposes the misogynist mind of the person commenting in this vain. CEOs can be women or men these days. They meet, travel or hold discussions with their juniors and colleagues regardless of their gender. I have personally had the privilege of working and interacting with a woman boss for quite a while but a thought like this never crossed my mind.”
Further strengthening his point of view, Srivastava added, “I think those trolling show the petty thinking they harbour that stereotypes women and their corporate existence in an undesirable fashion. A clean, witty, purpose-driven communication with a defined objective of redefining the acronym CEO as Career Enhancement Officer needn’t be given this uncalled for filter of sexism.”
Mixed reaction from experts
BestMediaInfo spoke to some experts in the field to gauge their opinion on the ad campaign and also the way it is trending on social media.
Asheesh Sethi, Founder, Jaldiad.com and Noshe Group, said, “What I feel on the face of it is that advertising is something where whatever gets noticeability and attention is good advertising, even if you play with words and get an impact, irrespective of the implicit meaning. TimesJobs has been able to create a noise in the market. The object was to create interest in the campaign. TimesJobs has not presented anybody on the wrong side. It’s just that you may draw your own inferences. As long as you are able to raise an eyebrow, get attention towards the brand and get it noticed, it is good advertising. It’s a very clever idea and a very creative way of putting things across.”
Amit Damani, Co-Founder, Pixel Fox Studios, commented, “I just had a laugh about it. Our mind works to find double meanings in everything that we hear or see. We feel that the marketing strategy has worked for the brand. In the era that we are in, there is a double meaning in everything that we say or write. This marketing strategy may not have sent the right message but has surely brought about some hardcore publicity. Like they say, any publicity, negative or positive, is good for a brand. The ad has been differently done. It’s quite a bold approach for a job portal advertisement.”
Ramanujam Sridhar, Founder and CEO of brand-comm, said, “One should not worry about what is happening on social media as there are a lot of people who are underemployed. It’s just a clever way of advertising. Young people have a good sense of humour. The brand is just trying to be smart. They are trying to make a proposition and giving a new definition to CEO. If humour has any chance of success, then it is with the younger people. Older people sometimes don’t understand the humour. If I were the client, I would have bought the idea from the creative agency. I don’t find any major issue with the idea of the campaign. Without the implicit CEO intent, the commercial would have come out flat.”
Some did not like it
But the ad did not go down well with a few from the creative fraternity.
Anupama Ramaswamy, Executive Creative Director, Dentsu Creative Impact, said, “Well, I really think people need to spend more time on strategy than opting for some cheap tactics like this. Totally dislike the whole series. It has been done to get eyeballs but how? The whole spending time with CEO and CEO wanting to give someone a raise just doesn’t cut it for me. It leaves quite bad taste instead. The whole ad fraternity is trying to become more and more gender sensitive and here we are still stuck in the 1980s. C’mon, can we all grow up a bit? Of course, the whole renaming of the CEO or calling TimesJob the CEO could have definitely been done more tastefully and a bit sensitively. People would have taken it in a wrong sense and that must have been the intention too. To get attention and then say ‘Oh, we meant otherwise’! Again, we all need to grow up and be more responsible in our communication.”
Nisha Singhania, Co-founder and Director, Infectious, commented, “Honestly speaking, why are we assuming that a CEO can only be a man? They have tried to create a sensation. It is much like the Tehelka kind of news. But to my mind, you should not give it any importance. These kinds of ads should be ignored. It’s no big deal. Anybody could be a CEO. If they are trying to promote the most-loved CEO, then is promotion the only thing for which you love your CEO? This ad doesn’t deserve the kind of attention it is receiving. The most-loved CEO has nothing to say about the product.”