the frequency a kenny chung blog

Link: Microsoft Blasts Google’s Ad Policies

Here’s a synopsis of the article: Microsoft denounces Google AdWords policy for hindering online advertising competition. Specifically, Microsoft execs feel that Google intentionally makes it unnecessarily difficult to transfer account/ad information from Adwords to other search engine advertisers, such as Microsoft AdCenter (for bing) or even Yahoo Marketing Solutions.

I’m going to cry foul on this one: Microsoft doesn’t have a leg to stand on in its accusations. From personal experience, I know for a fact that users can export Google bulksheets and upload them to both Yahoo Marketing and Microsoft AdCenter to be converted. I’ve also found it easier to do through Yahoo than Microsoft. So what is this difficulty that Microsoft execs are citing? Is it within their own ad platform? If their argument is that AdCenter doesn’t make converting Google PPC account data as easy as Yahoo does for the end user, then I agree. Microsoft would also be shooting themselves in the foot with this argument though. Consider it Microsoft cutting off their own nose to spite Google.

From my talks with vendors in the past, I know that Google has forbade third party SEM/PPC management platforms (such as Clickable, SearchIgnite, etc.) from including a native feature to automatically port Google AdWords campaigns to other advertisers. It’s still easy enough to do with step-by-step instructions though. Here are Yahoo’s instructions for importing Google AdWords data, and here are Microsoft’s instructions for uploading AdWords accounts. Not exactly a secret.

Considering the anti-trust suits against Microsoft (here’s one from last year that led to EU users being given the option of not installing Internet Explorer with Windows 7), this is essentially the pot calling the kettle black. What is Microsoft’s strategy here? The people who are familiar with PPC Advertiser platforms will know that Microsoft is over-exaggerating their claims. Perhaps Microsoft is counting on other people to use their statement as a talking point against Google? It does seem like it’s all the rage to criticize Google’s policies these days…

Microsoft is just being incredibly petty.

Rebranding campaigns are a tricky beast. On the one hand, it’s easy to go in with the mindset that you can’t do any worse than your past attempts. But if you want it to really be successful, you put everything you have out there and leave it all in the ring.

There’s not too much information about the new Microsoft search engine codenamed Kumo. But what Microsoft has on its plate will make it heavy to lift. Can anybody seriously imagine any search engine that could actually rival Google’s dominance?

For the most part, Google has made all the right decisions but it’s their philosophy that got them to where they are today. The CEO at my internship was regaling us with tales about how some people he recently met thought that Google was the Internet. That’s how successful the company has become. They’ve rolled out quality product after quality product and built up the value of their brand and name.

So really, what can Microsoft do?

Microsoft certainly can (and will) throw copious amounts of money to fix the problem. They’ve enlisted the help of JWT to handle the rebranding campaign of their to-be-named search engine and are going to spend $100M on it. That’s right, $100 Million Dollars.

Personally, I think Google will be Search Engine King for many, many years to come. I don’t think it’s too far-fetched to think that Microsoft can convert some users, but its greatest strength is its ubiquity. Consider this: every Windows-equipped computer after the launch of Kumo would have the search engine set as the browser homepage and perhaps even have some widget embedded in its desktop or plugin for other software. As I mentioned in my last Microsoft post, new users are such a key demographic. You get computer novices to use Kumo as soon as they unbox their computer and then suddenly Google will be foreign and Kumo will feel right.

It’ll be interesting to see what direction this rebranding campaign takes.

Link: Microsoft Looks to JWT to Market New Search Engine

The one consistency I’ve found with Microsoft advertisements is that they’re pretty inconsistent. In the past few years (since the modern PC vs. Mac wars began), Windows commercials have generally been hit-or-miss.

The last three-spot TV campaign they ran showed a lot of promise. I especially liked the introductory one featuring an Asian girl named Kylie who, after showcasing Vista’s ease of use, exclaims “I’m a PC and I’m four and a half!” For once, it seemed as if Microsoft had their fingers on the pulse on what people found memorable and worth sharing. Simply put, people love watching cute kids and create buzz around those types of videos (just consider the YouTube hits Hey Jude sung by a small Asian boy or the more recent kittens inspired by kittens).

And then the Microsoft effect kicked in. Each subsequent commercial featured older kids, each less cute than the last. The follow-up commercial featured a 7-year old girl named Alexa who demonstrated Vista’s ability to stitch photos together. For me, that one was a miss. But then the last of the set featured an 8-year old boy named Adam (who had the voice of a teenager) creating a photo slideshow. After the first time, I had no desire whatsoever to see that commercial again.

Anyway, Microsoft has rolled out a new TV campaign (by Crispin Porter). It features Lauren, a young woman trying to find a laptop with certain specifications for under a grand. She visits an Apple store, where only one of the computers is within her budget but outside of what she wants. Eventually she decides to buy a PC from BestBuy and Microsoft foots the bill. On the drive over to Best Buy, Lauren makes a statement that’s making waves around the tech marketing industry: “I’m just not cool enough to be a Mac person.”

Watch the spot (via MSN):
<a href=”;playlist=videoByUuids:uuids:0bb6a07c-c829-4562-8375-49e6693810c7&#038;showPlaylist=true&#038;from=msnvideo” mce_href=”;playlist=videoByUuids:uuids:0bb6a07c-c829-4562-8375-49e6693810c7&amp;showPlaylist=true&amp;from=msnvideo” target=”_new” title=”Laptop Hunters $1000 – Lauren Gets an HP Pavilion”>Video: Laptop Hunters $1000 – Lauren Gets an HP Pavilion</a>

Why this Ad works:

In the first college Advertising course I ever took, we discussed why people buy certain brands and products when they enter a store. And the one point that’s really stuck with me through the years (due to personal relevance) is that generally, you cannot change the mind of the consumer who walks in with a mission to spend the least amount of money. Clever smear campaigns against the competition may help you, but of course, they have their consequences.

The latest PC ad (and the ongoing marketing technique of making the term ‘PC’ synonymous with Windows, and by extension Vista) taps right into the most undeniable benefit of purchasing a Windows-loaded machine: It’s cheaper. The ad is obviously not targeted towards Mac or PC loyalists, but to the ever-growing number of consumers who want to buy a new computer and aren’t exactly tech-savvy. In this day and age, that’s a critical audience. Think about it: your aunt wants a new computer to check her e-mail and isn’t sure whether to get a PC or a Mac. She sees this commercial, which convinces her to try a PC because she just wants the barebones capabilities. So she ends up buying one and (ideally) acclimates to the OS. Boom, brand loyalty. Then let’s say your younger cousins will also use the computer. Parents are a major reference group affecting brand loyalty so your cousins become second generation Microsoft users and buy PCs for years to come.

Of course, that example is 100% dependent on how Apple responds to the Microsoft ad. They’re usually very good with tongue-in-cheek retorts that don’t come off as petty.

So we’ll see.

Creative Commons License
licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.