Tag Archives: brand

Bing it.

Interesting to see that Microsoft have turned on the advertising budget to promote their search engine Bing in its seemingly futile attempt to take on Google.

It’s David vs David, a clash of the titans. But Microsoft is so far off the pace it’s hard to watch as it scrambles to play catch-up.

The guys at Microsoft must have thought: OK, Google has first mover advantage (or something approximating that: they weren’t first, but they were first with a decent product), how do we break into the market?

And the answer? Well apart from the obvious (coming up with a whacky/meaningless name to mimic Google, copying or approximating Google’s algorithm and even appearence), they’ve gone for the tried and tested: we’ll pump loads of money into advertising the product. Yeah, that’ll work.

Trouble is, that’s not really the way things DO work any more. Standing on an overturned milk-crate in the street shouting your message into people’s faces as they pass by is more likely to irritate than engage. And a message like ‘our results are clearer and more concise than other search engines’ really isn’t going to do it – people will judge that for themselves, and most commentators still find Bing slightly lacking compared to Google.

So what SHOULD Microsoft do? Well, for a start, it could find something a bit more emotive than ‘clear and concise’. That claim is debatable, and not exciting or engaging, or even interesting. Maybe it could try actively setting itself up as the anti-Google. It would need to be VERY upfront, admitting all past sins: “yeah, we’re no tiny independent, and we know we’ve hardly been a big champion for customer choice, but that’s in the past. The world has changed and so have we. Customers deserve choice.”  Try to make it COOL to ‘Bing it’, a form of rebellion. There is of course a huge danger of getting the tone completely wrong and being crucified for hypocrisy/evil corporate behaviour/monopolistic empire building, but if Microsoft get it right, don’t take it too seriously, and try to have fun, then they could win. It’s a very risky strategy, but then ‘clarity’ carries no risk, but very little chance of success either.

Then there’s the medium: it’s all very well making ‘3 TV ads and an integrated social media campaign’, but why not cut out the TV ads and associated huge media spend and really ramp up the social media. Develop user generated content. Take the campaign to the streets using guerilla marketing. Give people a reason to talk about the brand, rather than telling them what to think, and maybe they’ll actually start to engage.

Or just carry on spending millions on mass advertising and hoping for a decent response rate. Yeah, let’s stick with that. It’s safe.

This blog was originally published on my company website here.

Bing Homepage


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‘I’m on a horse’

Old Spice. Something worn by everyone’s Dad in the seventies, and possibly still worn by everyone’s grandad. Redolent of sweaty Saturday nights in dodgy boozers with swirly carpets and fake velvet seat coverings. Not something any self-respecting young gent would want to associate themselves with, you would think.

That’s the position Old Spice finds itsself in in 2010: deeply unfashionable and almost unsellable. So what did they do?

They took a step back and looked at what they had: a brand with history and heritage yes, but history and heritage that carried negative connotations and came accompanied with the whiff of failure. But they looked deeper into that heritage, and found amid all that negative stuff a little gem: sure, Old Spice harks back to a naff decade, but it also harks back to a time when masculinity was unbridled, when men were men. Think Gene Hunt in Life On Mars rather than John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. And in 2010, amid the man-moisturisers and metrosexuality, this unapologetic masculinity is positively refreshing. It’s a brilliant piece of insight, and I applaud the planner that (probably) came up with it.

So, equipped with this thought, Old Spice stuck their metaphorical tongue firmly into metaphotical cheek and made a beautifully written, brilliantly funny YouTube clip that has been lighting up the old interweb for the past couple of weeks.  I haven’t been out to buy any Old Spice yet, but I reckon they’re out to grab a share of Lynx’s target market, and I’m certainly not that! I’ll be interested to see whether this clip helps Old Spice to turn themselves around though. And I’ll also be interested to see if my 24 year old brother, an unapologetic Lynx fan, will give it a try. If he does, this clip will have done it’s job. I’ll keep you posted!

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Filed under The Social Web