World’s best ads ever #33: Monster’s disillusioned kids win the 1999 Super Bowl
We asked our readers to vote for their favorite commercials of all time. Top creatives from the World Creative Rankings and The Drum’s Judges’ Club then ranked the ads. Now, we bring you the definitive 100 best TV and video ads of all time.
Ads for the Super Bowl tend to lean into the mood of the moment: they want to inspire, to celebrate success, to make people feel excited, happy, hopeful. No one wants a dose of reality. But in 1999, job website Monster served up the cold hard truth: your job probably sucks and you should find something better.
Of course, it made the message more palatable by getting a bunch of cute kids to deliver it.
The 1999 spot was created by Mullen Boston (now MullenLowe) with Edward Boches as creative director, Dylan Lee and Monica Taylor as both copywriters and art directors and Hungry Man’s Bryan Buckley as director.
Filmed in black and white to perfectly reflect the somewhat depressing mood of the ad, it shows a series of kids revealing their dreams for the future – only they are the roles most adults settle for once they reach working age.
“When I grow up, I want to file all day long,“ says one. “I want to have a brown nose,“ says another. “I want to be under-appreciated!“ The deadpan delivery is perfect.
“I like to think this commercial underscores my favorite thing to do with an idea: connect with a truth,“ Lee later told Muse, the publication run by the Clio Awards “It’s about finding something that people can relate to – and that often cuts through clutter and pulls in consumers far better than any joke or clever interactive device.“
Monster’s chief executive at the time, Jeff Taylor, was the one to sign off the $4m ad spend (then, around 17% of the brand’s marketing budget for the entire year). He told CNN after it aired that he had such faith that the bold creative would engage a nation that he invested heavily in new servers to ensure the website wouldn’t crash when people visited.
Taylor was right. Not only was it the stand out Super Bowl ad of the year, but after airing it more than doubled the number of job searches on the Monster site.