The economy is bleak. Unemployment is at a 16-year high. Lighten up, says Monster.com. In a new ad campaign, Monster is trying a humorous touch.

John Osborn, chief executive of BBDO New York, which created the campaign, described some of the new television spots in an article in The New York Times.

In one, a construction worker clings to a beam, crying and whimpering; the camera then pans up to show he is only a few feet off the ground. In another, a crew of emergency medical technicians jumps out of an ambulance as heroic music plays. They run to a car accident — and an E.M.T. faints.

“Are you in the right job?” both ads ask.

Other lines from the ads:

“Our new Web site is so easy to use it will make the glue stick seem intellectually challenging,” and, “It’s like online dating without that awkward kiss good-night.”

Other than tag lines, the ads are short on dialogue by design. We want “to make sure these spots can travel,” Osborn said. “The limited use of dialogue, and the visual aspect to the campaign, will allow us to adapt them to global markets quite easily.”

The ads began running during the Golden Globes on Sunday, and are scheduled for the January season premiere of “Lost” and during the Super Bowl. A 30-second spot on the NFL’s top drawing sports broadcast can cost up to $3 million.

Monster says its 2009 ad spend in the U.S. will be greater than last year when its campaign ran under the tag line “Your calling is calling.” Ironically, the Google ad carried on the Times page (at least when we saw this) still says that. Maybe Monster hasn’t updated its AdWords campaigns yet?”

The ads, which are running in 24 of the 53 countries where Monster does business, are also timed to promote the newly redesigned Monster.com Web site in thos countries. Globally, Monser’s ad spend will be slightly down from 2008.

Monster is devoting about 40 percent of its budget to online advertising, split between search and display ads.

Monster’s biggest rival, CareerBuilder.com, is running not one but two Super Bowl spots that are also intended to be funny.