The Ladders got a ‘makeover’ but didn’t need to

Something disturbs me greatly at a visceral level about the latest commercial from The Ladders.

In his latest email newsletter, Marc Cenedella, Founder & CEO (@cenedella) explained the commercials and the creative process behind it. I still didn’t buy it. It felt like someone handed me a dog turd and told me it was fine European chocolate.

And while you are chewing on that visual, watch the commercial.

View on YouTube | The rest

Really, I get it. Average-looking people with exceptional skills look fantastically sexy to quality employers. It’s a good concept and not one I’m going to argue with. But what I do have an issue with is how they are portrayed it in the video.

The premise The Ladders capitulated to is simple; eventually, everything comes down to sex. Period. Even job skills, brains, ability, aptitude and attitude. To be seen as qualified to do the job, you must also be seen as sexy.

That saddens me greatly.

How many qualified women have been hired based on their “skills” and years later found out it was because “she has a nice rack?” Or qualified men being hired because “he had a nice a**?” For someone who values skills, experience and smarts over looks, that is insulting.

I don’t know how else you could have depicted qualified candidates as attractive, but I know this visual is more insulting than complimentary. The Ladders went and gave itself a makeover, but didn’t need to. The quality employees and employers already found them more than attractive. For all the right reasons.

I’m not entirely sure who The Ladders hired to create and shoot the commercials, but perhaps they should have reached just a little further up the ladder for the better label. Perhaps they will next time around. They need to be what they sell.

*Yeah, I’m pretty hot-looking and I have a nice a**, so this isn’t sour grapes, just in case you want to snipe at me. If I wanted to get hired based on my looks, I’d aspire to be a model. I’d rather be seen as a talented writer and thinker; worth well over $100K. And I did get the the Nastassja Kinski cultural reference. Very clever, geeks are well-endowed, ok, subtle. Yes, that is sarcasm. Or is it?


6 Replies to “The Ladders got a ‘makeover’ but didn’t need to”

  1. You know, my problem is that the people in the commercial aren’t even average looking…they’re hideous! The first one, freeze framed at the beginning of the clip above, is questionable as to whether it’s a woman or a man. The commercials make me want to break my TV. They’re gross. And, I would never seek out a company based on these commercials. They don’t make me want to look into using “The Ladders” for gaining employment.

  2. Our local employment scene is dominated by engineers and computer nerds, so my yardstick to measure average looks might be a bit smaller 🙂 Regardless, what they have these people do during the shoot is hideous. These are supposed to be people with $100k+ brains, not bodies.

  3. I think the commercial is pretty funny regardless. Since looking for a job is hideous and depressing and annoying, the commercial is a nice reprieve from reality.

  4. But “funny” isn’t The brand. 100K worth is.

    Throwing sex into the mix just cheapens it to a “Yes, we think you’re worth 100K, but tart yourself up a bit for us anyway, babe.. ok?”

  5. I am so glad someone agrees with me about this commercial. It drives me nuts. Worse even than the concept of the commercial is the “song” they chose to back it. What is that moronic blather anyway?

  6. Oooo, la.. oo la la?? I think The may have hired the same agency that does the spots. Watch the online one at (upper right corner.. sorry, can’t find direct link) If Bob Parsons could not claim to be chronically and pathologically addicted to bad behavior and afforded reasonable accommodation under the ADA, this would be a lawsuit in any other company.

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