By Reed Tucker

(FORTUNE Magazine) – ENDLESS HOURS. FRAZZLED nerves. Chronically overworked employees. Sounds to us like the stuff of dream marketing messages. Or at least it did to three companies that are all running ad campaigns touting their forced workaholism. Efforts from Bear Stearns, Morgan Stanley, and realtor RE/MAX all boast about basically ruining employees' lives for the benefit of the customer. Hey, are you guys hiring?

Six TV spots from RE/MAX show agents failing miserably in everyday tasks like jogging or making pottery because, as the spots claim, "Our agents spend all their time selling homes. And not much time doing anything else." RE/MAX creative director David Rea says the ads are meant to convey that the real estate agents are "committed to their work" but admits they've backfired a bit. "There have been a few complaints from consumers who were worried about the agents not having any free time," Rea says. And some agents were none too happy either. Consequently, Rea says, a new campaign rolling out next year will "paint the agent in a more favorable way."

If RE/MAX isn't hiring, you may want to take your résumé over to Morgan Stanley. The company's At Your Side campaign, which began last fall, portrays its advisors as having no lives of their own, instead making toasts at a client's daughter's wedding and sitting on a beach with clients. Not to be outdone in the financial services sector, Bear Stearns launched an ad in June that claims, "At the end of the day, there is no end of the day." (A company spokesperson didn't return calls for comment.)

"It kind of surprises me that they're doing this," says Maynard Brusman, a workplace psychologist based in San Francisco. "So much in the workplace now is about emotional intelligence and understanding the needs of employees. This to me sounds clueless." Looks as though if any hiring is going on, it'll be of a new ad agency. -- Reed Tucker