There’s No 45-minute Wait for This Video

Claire Prager of the Cheesecake Factory describes the making of this $30,000, four-minute video developed and produced in two months last year as “pretty painless” — which is not how I’d describe trying to finish off its entire dinner-size Thai Chicken Pasta.

Job seekers are viewing the video at a rate of about 40,000 per year. Their eyes are peeled for an average of 3:48 minutes. (The average for similar videos is 2:33.)

Prager, senior manager, talent selection, was responsible for the overall execution of the video, a task she says MadDash’s good work made easier. The video, aimed particularly at the passive job seeker, was posted on Monster, CareerBuilder, AHRE.org, and HCareers. The Cheesecake Factory shows it again during new-hire orientation (which, we report with jealousy, involves a meal at the Cheesecake Factory), as well as at college career fairs and other job fairs, and on the company’s careers site.

The Cheesecake Factory selected an Area Director, Senior Vice President of Kitchen Operations, Executive Kitchen Manager, and General Manager to play key roles in telling the story. While developing the video, it selected the following elements to include:

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  1. Who is The Cheesecake Factory?
  2. Quality
  3. Our People and Our Culture
  4. Technology and Innovation.

The uber-consistent restaurant chain also owns the Grand Lux Cafe and now RockSugar.

  • http://www.ere.net/ David Manaster

    The video is really well done. I noticed that they used the Monster/MadDash partnership to host it. It would be awesome if it was the technology was embeddable (a la YouTube) so bloggers could put it in their posts – I bet it would see a lot more attention!

  • Melissa Moss

    CareerBuilder.com is now partnered with Utube so employment videos can be shared there as well.

  • Rob Levin

    I wonder how much the spin of this vidoe outweighs the bad publicity of something like this: http://www.azcentral.com/12news/news/articles/2008/07/10/20080710cr-cheesecake0711Update-CP.html

    I am curious to know if you think the positive video or the negative article is more influential.

    Remember – it takes years to build a good reputation and only seconds to destroy it.

  • Todd Raphael

    Rob: My sense — and I don’t have any data on it — is that that lawsuit didn’t get the sort of attention that would really damage its national employment brand severely, like say the Denny’s lawsuits once did.

  • http://ryanchartrand.com/blog/wordpress Ryan Chartrand

    Great video, not sure if it’s worth $30,000 though. It has an almost perfect blend of employee interviews and footage of their properties and employees in action. Still a few too many scripted moments, but pretty well-balanced.

    What depressed me though is this: http://www.cakecareers.com/

    Sure the video is great, but the rest of the site is a complete turn off. They go from approachable in the video, to completely unapproachable. In fact, they force you to come into the restaurant to even apply. And, of course, there’s no sign of their recruiters wanting to connect with candidates via social networking either.

    I’ve always been a fan of the portal layout that they use on their homepage, but each portal has little to no content that would convince me to work for them.

    I just found it to be a classic example of how companies will spend thousands of dollars on a video, but forget to complete the experience and the conversion with the rest of the site. Oh, well. Bravo to the filmmakers though.

  • http://www.maddash.net Shannon Price

    Nice article Todd. At the risk of being a party to blog spam…and in the interest of full disclosure…I’ll start by mentioning that I’m one of the partners at MadDash.

    Thanks to Dave and Ryan for their compliments. We worked hard on the project and are quite proud of how well it’s performed for Claire and team.

    In the midst of Ryan’s kind words, he questioned the ROI on the $30k price tag….a fair question. Fact is, the video itself caries a value of well under $20k. However, the entirety of the solution actually includes our employment branding expertise, a specialized recruiter-friendly process, secure online hosting, performance tracking, and of course, integration in Monster. So, while we don’t “a la carte” the parts, there is significantly more value added than just a video production.

    Truth be told, there are cheaper solutions out there. Heck, you can find an 18 year old kid with Final Cut Pro, a Flip camera, and a Youtube account to do your video. You can also turn to Madison Avenue for a Super Bowl-style commercial. However we find that today’s top employers want a balance between a reasonable cost and a superior quality product.

    In buying this solution from Monster, clients like Cheesecake need to know that they aren’t buying a disposable, lesser quality, job board video product. They need a product the can use in ALL of their online recruitment, not just to enhance a posting on a job site. They got this from the MadDash/Monster service.

    Remember, producing a video gets a tremendous amount of exposure within an organization. If it goes bad because you skimp, everyone will know about it. And, while I can’t speak for Claire and the team at Cheesecake, the peace of mind that comes with an easy process, handled by experts in the industry, is worth its weight in gold.

  • http://www.maddash.net Shannon Price

    Oh, one more comment: All our videos come equipped with embed codes. It’s at the client’s discretion on whether they use them or not. While we can debate the virtues of viral marketing, we do respect that some clients want more control over their media.

  • Eric Putkonen

    “Claire Prager of the Cheesecake Factory describes the making of this $30,000, four-minute video developed and produced in two months last year as “pretty painless”.”

    I call that price tag painful. I am all for video, but it will never become mainstream at that price. Furthermore, Ryan Chartrand’s comments are right on.

    I have a blog about recruiting and video use today…I will be covering this video in the near future. Check out the blog for other videos and critiques – http://blog.peekproductionsvideo.com/

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