Vanilla Ice and the Three Little Pigs

When you’re in a crowded marketplace, it’s imperative to stand out from the competition – even if you’re not dramatically different than them. In today’s creative breakdown, we use Audiolytics™ to evaluate podcast ads from three companies in the recruitment space: ZipRecruiter, Indeed, and LinkedIn.

I liken our three advertisements to The Three Little pigs. One advertiser is doing what’s right by differentiating itself from the pack. Explaining the difference between the other two is like Vanilla Ice explaining the difference between Ice Ice Baby and Under Pressure.

As a refresher, Audiolytics™ is Oxford Road’s proprietary tool that evaluates advertising creative using 9 main components and over 70 sub-components. The 9 main Audiolytics™ components are:

Setup – What is the problem they are solving? Who are they solving it for?

Value Prop – What is the solution? What is the “Big Claim”?

Positioning – What is the alternative to the solution? Why is this better?

Demonstration – How does it work?

Substantiation – Why believe in the advertiser?

Offer – What does the potential customer get immediately if they respond?

Scarcity – How long is the “Offer” available? What happens if they wait?

Path – How does the listener respond to what they’re selling?

Execution – How does the advertiser approach the ad?


Below is the Audiolytics™ analysis on each of the three recruitment ads.

Indeed – Business Unusual  – 
Audiolytics Score: 79.8%

Piggy Number one is Indeed’s advertisement on Shark Tank’s Barbara Corcoran’s podcast, Business as Usual. While Barbara’s delivery is far from good, from an Audiolytics™ perspective the spot is also lacking. Most of the key components are present, though they are somewhat out of order with Substantiation coming before Demonstration. There is an Offer, but it is unclear how valuable $50 off really is given this particular service. And there is no Scarcity to the Offer – why should the listener act now? The Path is repeated 2x instead of 3x (the Audiolytics™ standard). And while the host does “personally” recommend the brand (or at least does through Shark Tank businesses), it sounds scripted and lacks the ease and conversational tone of a more personalized endorsement. Technically there is a lot going on here that is correct, but the spot overall is missing punch and joie de vivre.

ZipRecruiter – Something You Should Know – ZIPRECRUITER
Score: 87.3%

Piggy number two, ZipRecruiter, is one of podcast’s largest advertisers. The spot we’ve evaluated is from the Something You Should Know podcast. Though this podcast has performed very well for a number of Oxford Road clients, the execution falls short for ZipRecruiter. The spot could easily achieve Audiolytics™ Certified status by having the host add in a statement like “I use Ziprecruiter, and you should too” or “I personally recommend Ziprecruiter”. But the big misses here are Scarcity for the Offer (why should the listener go RIGHT NOW?) as well as Positioning. Listening to this ad on the heels of the Indeed ad from Business as Unusual, they sound more similar than not. Based on this ad alone, what makes ZipRecruiter distinct from all the other hiring sites? Nothing. What makes them the irresistible and obvious choice in such a continually cluttered space? Nothing. If you were to remove the names of the advertiser in both this and the Indeed ads, they’re almost indistinguishable.  See Vanilla Ice’s clip if you haven’t yet done so.

LinkedIn – Star Talk –  LINKEDIN
Score: 85.6%

Piggy number three, LinkedIn, is the smart piggy. Like the spot for ZipRecruiter, this ad also lacks a personal endorsement from the host. While it has the most dynamic read of the three, it leaves the powerhouse tool of influencer marketing on the table, “I use this, and you should too.” There is no Scarcity to the Offer, and like the Indeed ad, it’s unclear how good of a discount $50 even is for this particular service. Having an identical offer to Indeed may do more harm than good, especially since the message of all three of these ads are so very similar. However, what this ad does right is separate LinkedIn from the competition: 70% of the US Workforce is already on LinkedIn – why not use them to find the best professionals in their fields? By showcasing something that makes LinkedIn truly different, they stand out from the competition.


Bottom Line:
In a space like recruitment – or any space, for that matter – it doesn’t pay to sound like everyone else. Yes, these ads have reasonable Audiolytics™ scores, but what about their potency? What is the Substantiation that ZipRecruiter can bring that neither of the other two can? What is the Demonstration of Indeed’s product that shines a light on the truly distinct aspect of their service? What’s the biggest, most generous offer ZipRecruiter can serve up to stand out? When you see scores like these in an increasingly commoditized service space, it’s easy to think that this is the time for “Big Ideas”, in the sense of some sort of off-the-wall and memorable creative. That can work. But what if you just tell the truth about why your service is truly the BEST choice for the listener to give up their time, and eventually their money, to use and enjoy? If it’s NOT, why would anyone want to part with their money for it?

So little piggy, are you going to build a house that stands out from the pack – one that that can withstand the huffs and puffs of a saturated marketplace? While each advertiser in this week’s breakout surely believes they are superior to the competition, aside from LinkedIn the differences are negligible. If your creative team or ad agency is not exploiting what truly makes your business different, fire them! It is imperative that you find a way to stand out. If you can’t find a reason to use your company before the competition, how would you expect your potential clients to? For readers who need a little help, Oxford Road can provide a FREE CREATIVE ANALYSIS to explore ways to make your business stand out from the crowd, and showcase unique benefits that are more than just a pause between dingdingding, ding-a-ding-ding’s.

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