Did The USA Today Ad Meter Cause CareerBuilder’s Review?

Here’s an interesting bit from Ad Age about Cramer-Krasselt’s loss of the CareerBuilder account:

In an internal memo issued today, the agency’s president, Peter Krivkovich, said CareerBuilder put its account up for review after the agency’s Super Bowl ads failed to rank in the top 10 in USA Today’s viewer poll.
“To our amazement, to our total astonishment, all that astounding business success was less important than one poll,” reads part of Mr. Krivkovich’s memo. “C-Kers, we have to tell you — in our entire history, hell in the history of this crazy thing called advertising, I’m not sure there has ever been any thing as baseless or as unbelievable as that. It’s so ludicrous and they are so serious about that poll it’s almost funny.”

Unfortunately, it’s true, and I wrote exactly that last year:

CEO’s and Marketing Directors at the companies who advertise do pay attention, though. With so much cash laid out, no CEO wants to wake up on Monday after the big game, already nursing a hangover, only to find out their commercial has been roundly panned by the focus group.

Think about it: You work at one of these companies that doesn’t advertise a ton like Bud Light, but you fork out $3 million+ for a Super Bowl ad. Then, in all likelihood, you host a big viewing party for all your personal friends, family and other business co-horts to celebrate the big ad buy. Then your commercial comes on, and the people at the party aren’t impressed. You feel like a tool. Then the Ad Meter comes out and you’re not near the top.
Who are you gonna blame? Right–the ad agency. Every time.

About Dan Goldgeier

Blogging on AdPulp since 2005, Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. In addition, he is a regular columnist for TalentZoo.com. Dan published the best of his TalentZoo.com columns in a book entitled View From The Cheap Seats: A Broader Look at Advertising, Marketing, Branding, Global Politics, Office Politics, Sexual Politics, and Getting Drunk During a Job Interview. Look for it on Amazon in paperback and e-book editions.


  1. Willy Cee says:

    Ah, you gotta love this industry. How much you want to bet that the AE on this account threw the creatives under the bus before the client tossed the entire agency under there?
    We all know where the buck stops.

  2. Scott L. Brown says:

    Strangely enough, everyone I’ve spoken to,including myself, thought their Super Bowl ads were great. The discrepancy between the local focus groups and the national level of business CareerBuilder.com received could simply be a testament to how far out of touch the execs and their focus groups are from most Americans. The commercial probably wasn’t high-brow enough for them, but most people in America don’t live in NYC or LA.