CAMPAIGNS: Web Site Promotion - Headhunter goes Monster hunting




PR Team: In-house staff, Marketing Mix, Fleishman-Hillard and


Campaign: Surfari

Time Frame: May to September 2000

Budget: dollars 1.1 million for marketing and PR

Getting offline job hunters to look for work online meant hitting the

streets this summer for, the second-largest employment

site on the Internet. Calling its road show a ’Surfari,’ the company

hunted down professionals in their native habitat.

PR was an aggressive part of the marketing-led promotion, but it hit a

few bumps along the road. Atlanta-based Headhunter parted ways with its

agency of record, Fleishman-Hillard, in mid-campaign after F-H signed up

Kforce, a competing employment agency. Atlanta’s Creaxion picked up

where F-H left off.


’It’s very easy to reach the savvy online job seeker,’ explains

Headhunter marketing SVP Judy Hackett. But winning over workers who

don’t typically surf the Net means taking the product to the people. So

Headhunter rolled out a convoy of camouflage sports utility vehicles

toting a small village of jungle huts. Job seekers sat on tree stumps to

view the Web site from 18 ’rock’ computer terminals. A four-person team

gave job search advice while handing out prizes and free Internet CDs

courtesy of NetZero.

The Surfari will visit 30 cities in 192 days, focusing particularly on

those in which Headhunter has offices. Online visitors to

can register to win a Kenyan safari or trips to Busch Gardens in Tampa,



F-H partner Nancy Bauer described the associated PR campaign as a

’turnkey program’ that could be repeated in each city. ’We worked on

getting media to where the trucks were going to be,’ Bauer says. F-H

handled PR in the first half-dozen or so markets before bowing out.

PR operatives contacted media outlets two weeks in advance of each visit

and sent video news releases with b-roll to television stations, Hackett

says. Most appearances coincided with festivals and other events, like

the Byron Nelson Golf Tournament in Dallas and Roger Waters concerts in

Los Angeles. In New York, Bauer says ’tour guides’ drove the caravan to

the sets of CBS’ Early Show and NBC’s Today hoping for chances to mug

for the cameras.

Staff hadn’t yet worked out all the kinks when b-roll and interviews

were shot on the campaign’s first day in Atlanta. Unsatisfied with the

results, Hackett says Headhunter hired Creaxion to produce new footage

in New York and later signed up the firm as its agency of record.


Hackett says Surfari garnered a mention in The Industry Standard. He

also claims that it received television news coverage in a few cities,

though assignment editors at the network affiliates in Dallas, Atlanta

and Austin say they do not recall running stories about Headhunter

during its early tour dates. The promotion got the most exposure on

partner radio stations that produced live remotes or gave away premiums

as contest prizes.

Tallying up ad equivalency and NetZero’s dollars 400,000 contribution,

Hackett says Headhunter has had a dollars 2 million return on its

investment, with several more cities to go. May was the site’s highest

traffic month, with 3.9 million visitors. The Surfari page averaged

20,000 visitors a month with 18,000 sweepstakes entries posted in the

first seven weeks of the campaign.


Surfari tour stops are scheduled through September 2000. ’If it

continues to perform for us, we will continue to support it,’ Hackett

says. Headhunter may add more fall dates in warmer climates or pick up

the campaign again next summer. ’Our job is to kill the Monster,’ says

Creaxion principal Mark Pettit, referring to the market-leading site.

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