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WTF are they smoking over at TheLadders?

Feb 02, 2011 / Product & App Reviews / Trackback

I’m an open minded hip 2011 kind of HR practitioner but I am dismayed that an organization that touts itself as the place for leaders to find their next opportunity has made a commercial advertisement not dissimilar to the “sketchy comedy” video that recently rocked the Navy and violates every employee handbook ever written by putting cheap jokes before decorum and dignity.

In the job search, you gotta show employers what you got. – TheLadders

If sexual innuendos salty with partial nudity, inappropriate touching of oneself and others in the workplace and potentially hazardous behavior by climbing on furniture and dancing on desks make oneself more attractive to employers is the message TheLadders purports to convey – they have succeeded.

If TheLadders made this commercial using the same psychological ploy a child does to commit inappropriate acts to gain attention – because any attention is attention, they have succeeded.

I can’t support propaganda that goes against the very principles of professionalism and dignity that are the cornerstone of my career. I got where I am because of my professional competencies and verifiable accomplishments – not because I laid on a boardroom table with a skirt on lifting my leg in the air while caressing myself.

If TheLadders thinks this is cool hip and fun then call me a prude – but as soon as I hit the publish button on this post I’m canceling my subscription, because I no longer have respect for their on the job behavior…



46 comments
Guest
Guest

You guys are taking this way too seriously. It is a satire commercial about the rediculous models swooning over products. The Ladders is saying that they will take you as you are and work with you. They used normal people for that reason. It has a shock value that is utterly hilarious and leads to an almost endless replay value. First time I watched it I was too busy wide-eyed and laughing to notice what or who the commercial was about. I rewound it, watched a couple more times, finding time between chuckles to notice what they were saying. I had not heard of The Ladders before, and there was not quite enough information given in the commercial to find it out. I was intrigued, and that is when they have you hooked. At the very least you will go to their webiste to learn more and next thing you know you have their name bouncing around in your head. All thanks to a shock value commercial that was hilariously received. The Ladders is not literally saying to dress provocative and lay on furniture. It is metaphorically representing normal people as models being seductive with the "audience" being the potential hiring company. As a recap: They are metaphorically saying we will make you irresistable, they used normal people instead of models for the down to earth realistic factor, and they stood out above and beyond their competition. Here I am years later writing a college paper on this advertisement simply because it still stands out clearly in my head as a fantastic advertisement with almost all meaning being deeper meaning requiring analytical thought to find. If you cannot see beyond the surface of this commercial and recognize the success here then I have a feeling you are one of those kind of people who are overly politcially correct and are offended by everything and I pity you, truly.

Anil
Anil

Cheesy seems to have been the mantra at the Superbowl. Karla you nailed it, the AD does not represent the demographics Ladders is serving.2010 was year of Kim Kardashian and Jersey Shore, folks are talking leaf out of their books, at-least they were original? How far would you go to drive traffic? where is the class?

Anil
Anil

Cheesy seems to have been the mantra at the superbowl. Karla you nailed it, the AD does not represent the demographics Ladders is serving.

pink_elephant
pink_elephant

As someone who has used the Ladders and working in the HR space I think the Ad communicates what it should. Too often job seekers and candidates spend too much time dressing up their resumes, picking a suit and and in general go about a job search in a slightly misguided manner. Being that we have an over 9% unemployment rate, desperation often also plays a role in their job search. Taking that idea and extrapolating it is what this commercial is about. Letting job seekers know that there is a place that can actually work with them as people individually working with real humans as opposed to 'resume upload 1 million and 1' I think is a good thing. To apply all the stereotypes that seem to be applied below portrays exactly the issues with the HR community in general. Maybe the commercial is not about diversity, or workplace impropriety or body image; maybe, it's just about what it shows: Persons unsure of how to go about a job search and needing guidance. extrapolating it is what I think this

Elissa Wolf
Elissa Wolf

Karla, Thank you for expressing so articulately and on point. Bravo!!!!

Guy
Guy

WTF? What does that mean?

Guest
Guest

I'm glad to see others are not happy with TheLadders campaign. I asked a bunch of friends (in their 40's and early 50's) if they saw it and they loved it. I don't get it. If you watched the super bowl, we had cats and dogs driving cars and that is the reason to buy the car, it is dog tested. What does that tell you about the car as a product? Performance, etc. This is a dumming down of the consumer. It flashes, it dances, its provocative, but it doesn't tell me anything about what it is I'm buying into. And unfortunately, people buy into it. TheLadders commercial is trashy and I think it deminishes its purpose and reputation.

Professional Search
Professional Search

Kudos Karla, my take on this nasty thing is that it is supposed to have a subliminal appeal to people who are more challenged than the average bear at finding 100K positions. Minority, unattractive, overweight, gay. So the ladders is sending the message that we can make you irresitible and attractive. That's just sick. I used the Ladders prior to 2008, cancelled because i found that a great number of resumes were far out of date, people whom we tired to contact did not respond. When we tracked them down they had long ago changed jobs and had tried to remove their profiles but they had not been removed. They were irritated that they were being contacted by recruiters from an online resume that was over three years old.I received the passport invitation. Sent them a note back that they could not pay me to use the Ladders after that obnoxious, sleazy commercial and i would advise any job seeker to stay away from them.Interestingly in late Nov. and December i received two resumes forwarded to me from the Ladders. How nice. The only problem was that they were in response to a job posting from 2007 that of course was long since filled and gone. I sent notes to both candidates letting them know that we no longer used the Ladders and that the position was only posted in 2007. One wrote back and said he had never used the Ladders and didn't know how they got his resume. Maybe they are board scraping resumes as well as jobs to lure people back. It's my understanding that they have had big turnover at the executive level and business is circling the drain. I sincerely hope this ad pulls the plug for good so 24 year old kids are not giving career advice to 100K up experienced candidates. What a sham.I am embarassed for those people who made fools of themselves by doing that ad. Who would do a thing like that and who would continue to employ them after they did. Certainly would not be me. The Ladders was off my list long ago but with this disgusting ad i will go out of my way to tell candidates to stay away from them.

Shennee Rutt
Shennee Rutt

My opinion is : It was a "disgustingly Inappropriate" ad. Not even for late night tv. Way to go Karla. for calling The Ladders out on the carpet.

Tracy Brisson
Tracy Brisson

Good for you and great post. I've never used The Ladders, but always had a general idea it would be a good resource for me if I decided entrepreneurship was not for me and I wanted to go back into corporate. But I find these ads so offensive, I am not sure why a potential user of their services (on the recruiter or job-seeker side) would take their service seriously. Bad. Business. Decision.

Nick Corcodilos
Nick Corcodilos

Karla, Nice to see HR speak up about TheLadders' behavior. Trouble is, they will chalk the complaints about the ad up as a "learning experience" with their advertising firm. The bigger trouble is, the ad really does reflect the company's attitude about job hunting and hiring. It's about FLUFF. Like Marc Cenedella's regular e-mails to his "members," FLUFF.In the end, what matters most is voting with your wallet. Kudos to you for canceling. My own blog audience complains that it's different with them. When they try to cancel, Ladders keeps billing them, because apparently there is a clause buried in the "agreement" that says a member agrees to recurring monthly billing... and by the time many realize what's happened, Ladders' policy is NO REFUNDS. So check your statements.

jnykolai
jnykolai

I agree with Krista's observation. I'm also curious if the Ladders feels that because there's a perception of diversity in the ad (asians, men, women, various shapes-sizes and looks) that this would be more acceptable by the general public?

JasonCBlais
JasonCBlais

Karla, kudos to you for putting your values and ideals on display and in to action. This does reek of desperation while at the same time hinting at a serious misunderstanding of the market this business serves. Coming from a branding background, I do understand that it's easier, cheaper, and faster to make a splash by being funny/provocative. That being said, it doesn't always mean it's the best option for every business. Watching this video as an HR/Recruiting business partner, I can't help but question what audience this will actually attract to the pool of candidates within the Ladders. It doesn't appear to be targeting professional, respectful, serious professionals, and if it's not, than who is it targeting?

Krista OgburnFrancis
Krista OgburnFrancis

Maybe they thought they could get away with it because they included so many men in the ad?

Brenda L.
Brenda L.

Karla,You are right about: "If The­Lad­ders made this com­mer­cial using the same psy­cho­log­i­cal ploy a child does to com­mit inap­pro­pri­ate acts to gain atten­tion — because any atten­tion is atten­tion, they have succeeded." Those were my same thoughts when I saw it. I plan to take a survey of my sons and their friends to gain a perspective on what they think about it. Two of them are advertising majors, so this should be interesting.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Porter, one of the earliest of the recruitment bloggers to comment, titled her post “WTF are they smoking over at The Ladders?” In case you are in doubt, she didn’t think it appropriate. Nor did those who commented on her […]

  2. […] Porter, one of the earliest of the recruitment bloggers to comment, titled her post “WTF are they smoking over at The Ladders?” In case you are in doubt, she didn’t think it appropriate. Nor did those who commented on her […]

  3. […] Porter, one of the earliest of the recruitment bloggers to comment, titled her post WTF are they smoking over at The Ladders? In case you are in doubt, she didnt think it appropriate. Nor did those who commented on her […]

  4. […] Porter, one of the earliest of the recruitment bloggers to comment, titled her post WTF are they smoking over at The Ladders? In case you are in doubt, she didnt think it appropriate. Nor did those who commented on her […]

  5. […] Porter, one of the earliest of the recruitment bloggers to comment, titled her post “WTF are they smoking over at The Ladders?” In case you are in doubt, she didn’t think it appropriate. Nor did those who commented on her […]