Washingtonpost.com Throws Ad Dollars Behind Jobs Site

The Washington Post Co.’s online unit plans to run a new advertising campaign to bring local traffic to its jobs Web site while taking a swipe at large, nationally-focused plays.

The Arlington, Va.-based company’s new radio and print campaign will run through November, and targets job seekers in the D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia region.

The effort aims to convey that washingtonpost.com’s jobs site is better suited to job seekers in the local market than are the major employment Web sites, such as TMP Worldwide’s Monster and Yahoo’s HotJobs.com.

“Washingtonpost.com is committed and focused on the needs of employers and job seekers in the Washington area,” said Christopher Schroeder, the site’s chief executive and publisher. “While the national Web sites apply the same model to each city and job market, we have built a site that understands the specialized needs of Washington area employers and jobseekers.”

D.C.-based agency Adworks designed the campaign’s four radio and print ads. The radio spots feature an announcer pitching the washingtonpost.com job sites, while being interrupted by wisecracks.

“Sure, the biggest national job Web site might have a million jobs, but…” begins the announcer.

“… Ninety-nine percent of them require a moving van,” a man interjects.

“On washingtonpost.com, we have more than 20,000 jobs right here in Washington,” continues the announcer. “And we make looking easier by letting you search by county instead of just the entire metro area. Try doing that on some of those other sites.”

“Do national Web sites have jobs in Gaithersburg?” another voice says. “Have they ever heard of Gaithersburg?”

The campaign also promotes a sweepstakes in which people who submit and activate a resume on washingtonpost.com by mid-November are entered into a drawing for a new 2003 PT Cruiser.

The campaign marks Washingtonpost.com as the latest major newspaper to pit its job site against national rivals by pitching its familiarity with the local job market as a competitive differentiator. Earlier this year, the New York Times Co. unveiled its rebranded, revamped job site and has been promoting it steadily ever since.

Such moves highlight the efforts of regional newspapers to recover ground lost to the major national job Web sites, which have taken increasing chunks out of the recruitment advertising market — previously dominated by local papers — since their debut in the late 90s.

It’s a critical market for newspapers. While the employment market remains lackluster due to the economy — prompting wider-than-expected losses and job cuts in recent weeks at TMP — the classified ads market overall has shown relative staying power compared to the mainstream media market.

But while newspapers are aiming to contend with the establish brands of players like Monster and HotJobs, the online companies are fighting back. Monster ratcheted up the rivalry earlier this year, when it unveiled a new initiative to go after local jobseekers in the hourly/non-exempt market. Workers in that category are thought to compose about 70 percent of the national labor market, while advertising for the segment is dominated by local newspapers.

HotJobs early this year was acquired by Yahoo, which guarantees the job site high exposure on one of the Web’s highest trafficked properties.

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