When this ad came out there had never been anything like it.
And I don’t think there’s been anything like it since.
It stands out in a sea of sameness.
By using a relatable hook.
By using a relatable hook and a completely unique structure.
By using a relatable hook, a unique structure, and attention-grabbing visuals.
By using a relatable hook, a unique structure, attention-grabbing visuals, and hilarious casting.
By… you get the idea.
It’s genius in its apparent simplicity.
And yet, like so many things that appear simple, it’s craftsmanship that makes it so.
The perfectly timed dialogue.
The exaggerated characters.
The art direction and set design.
The layered humor.
(You saw the guy in the background blending gold bar smoothies right?)
It’s wall-to-wall wit.
Sure, the logo is awful.
And I don’t think it needs “as a rule” at the end.
But the idea is so good.
That even if it was executed badly.
It would still be great.
This seems like an idea that started out great but lost its soul on the way to the screen.
And once a great idea gets watered down, it doesn’t matter how well you execute it.
Even if you have a two-million-dollar production budget and a shit-hot director.
Like this ad allegedly did.
A cult-like conference for people who can’t find work is kind of funny.
Especially one led by a Tony Robbins-esque self-help con artist.
The direction, casting, and production design are flawless.
And I love the sound guy’s contributions to the comedy.
But revealing someone’s salary when they clearly wanted to keep it quiet is a dick move.
And there’s something oxymoronic about a guy who doesn’t want people to know he’s using Seek, but he’s got “The Seekret” in huge letters behind him on stage.
Not to mention using the app and pretending it doesn’t exist at the same time.
It doesn’t make sense.
Does he represent Seek or not?
And that sign on stage gives away the gag too soon.
Plus, Seek isn’t exactly a secret.
It’s one of the largest job sites around.
Word on the street is this spot was originally about a health and fitness guru played by Jennifer Coolidge.
So maybe this is a case of a script getting watered-down revision after revision.
Like the new Tree Milk ad, it is very well made.
And frustratingly close to being rad.
But the power of positive thinking won’t fix this one.
Coulda Shoulda Woulda
I never like to say an ad is bad without offering some thoughts on how it might be improved.
After all, judging is easy and ideas are hard.
One little tweak could have saved this.
What if a self-help guru who allegedly has the secret to getting jobs suddenly has to look for one?
Open in a giant auditorium.
A cheesy self-help guru is on stage
Behind him hangs a giant religious-looking banner: Find Job.
He moves energetically and speaks with the confidence of a megachurch evangelist.
He points to a haggard-looking woman in the audience.
GURU: You mortgaged the house!
The woman nods proudly.
The guru points to a guy wearing tight Lycra.
GURU: You sold the car!
The cyclist holds up his helmet and takes a bow.
The guru points to a guy holding an I.V. drip.
GURU: A kidney!
The I.V. drip guy waves and winces in pain.
GURU: Whatever you had to do to get the twenty grand it took to be here, it was worth it because now you’re one step closer to… job.
The Guru’s sound guy plays an emotional note to emphasize the word and whispers into his mic.
SOUND GUY: Job.
GURU: Repeat after me, I’m employable!
The audience repeats his words back to him drearily – in monotone.
GURU: I’m valuable!
The audience mumbles his words back to him.
Suddenly, a door in the back of the dark auditorium opens letting in a beam of light.
A young woman steps in, her bright, cheery voice cuts through the sea of sadness.
WOMAN: I’ve seen the light!
Everyone turns to look, but the door shuts and the auditorium goes dark.
She holds up her phone – the Seek app is on the screen.
WOMAN: And it’s right here – in the Seek app!
Security men drag her away, but it’s too late.
WOMAN: (shouting) There’s jobs for everyone!
The dark auditorium lights up as people start downloading the Seek app on their phones.
Now everyone is hugging and embracing each other.
Hallelujah! They really have found… Job!
As everyone leaves the auditorium the Guru realizes he’s out of work now.
The sound guy whispers over the mic.
SOUND GUY: What do we do now?
The Guru is already looking for a new job on the Seek app.
He shows his phone to the sound guy.
Zoom in on his screen and transition to an end frame.
SUPER: Seek. And ye shall find.
Seek logo and URL.