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September 2012

Bing Ad Campaign Takes a Swing and a Miss at Google

Bing_vs_google_resultsBing_vs_google_results (Photo credit: Tom Purves)

Last night Bing launched an ill-advised advertising campaign taking direct aim at market leader Google search.  The campaign uses the classic “man on the street” interview style to make the claim that more people prefer Bing than Google in a blind taste test; I mean search competition.  The campaign broke on the MTV Music Awards, making the unoriginal approach stand out against the outrageous musicians and style of the awards.

In the introductory television spot, which mixes bad craft with amateur hour advertising strategy, Bing makes the "startling" claim that more people prefer their search engine when compelled to use it by the man on the street announcer guy.  Sorry for my rant, but  It’s as if the agency mailed in the campaign.  The client is also to blame for probably handing the agency some kind of turd in a paper bag that was handed to a creative team tasked to molding it into a campaign that would sail through a client meeting.

Where did Bing go wrong?  If you are the number two brand, bringing a focus to functional superiority as a wedge against conceptual superiority is a fools errand.  Let's put this another way.  We all wake up with a set of problems each day.  My first problem today beyond having to work on a Friday was how many Craisans is optimal for a bowl of Special K.  Finding better search results is just below my fear of a meteor storm blowing up the earth this afternoon.  No problem, no solution.

Bing's misplaced expectations is the equivalent of coming out with a Tablet and expecting everyone to stop buying IPads because it has superior features (can anyone say Google Nexus 7). It's takes atomic weaponry to move a #2 brand to #1, not the weak ad claim used by Bing. If anything the Bing campaign will solidify their role as the distant #2 as they implicitly advertise to the world that the people who would know, Bing search experts, see Google as the #1 brand against which all others are compared.

Instead of spending money on advertising, I'd suggest Bing focus their efforts on how to re-invent the category.  Better yet, ask Siri, she may have some ideas.


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