Corporate Eye

Microsoft Redemption Comes in the Form of New Bing Ads

Lately, I’ve been writing about Microsoft’s lack of creative branding here on Corporate Eye, but today, I can actually say that I saw some marketing come from Microsoft that didn’t put me to sleep.  Have you seen any of the new Bing commercials on television?  If not, you can watch the one I saw last night which appears below or check out the Bing channel on YouTube where you can find a bunch of Bing commercials.

I think the concept is strong — most of us who use a search engine and get lost in the myriad of unrelated and useless results can empathize with the people in the Bing ad above.  I also like the idea of branding the time-wasting and annoying experience of picking through search results to find something that’s actually useful as  “search overload syndrome”.   However, I don’t think people are overloaded with ‘searches’.  They’re overloaded with meaningless results, particularly spam results.  I think search overload syndrome (which I’m sure will get the SOS acronym) could have been better.

The complete campaign, dubbed the Bing ad “manifesto” was created by JWT and cost Microsoft a mere $100 million.  It appears to be working so far.  As I mentioned in my post earlier this week, Microsoft Bing has bypassed Yahoo! as the second most used search engine behind Google.  What remains to be seen is whether or not the Bing product will live up to the hype.  We’ll have to wait and see if Bing is still in second place in 6 months or a year from now.

Now, back to the commercial in the video above (and the others from this campaign).  I think the only real problem I have with it is the rebranding of Bing as a “discovery engine” rather than a search engine.  That term doesn’t work for me for two reasons:

  1. I don’t want to “discover” anything when I’m conducting a keyword search.  Ultimately, I want the perfect result to be delivered to me, so there is no discovery required on my part.  That word connotes more work for me — like an explorer or archaeologist spending years trying to find a hidden treasure or lost artifact.
  2. Microsoft isn’t fooling anyone.  If it looks like a search engine, acts like a search engine, and works like a search engine — it’s a search engine.  I know they’re trying to differentiate Bing from Google, but I’m not buying the “discovery engine” line.

There is quite a debate going on at the Bing YouTube channel about these commercials with strong arguments from both sides.  Regardless of whether or not a person likes these ads, you have to agree that they’re better than most of Microsoft’s previous marketing efforts.  What do you think? 

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.

Just more overload. The core cause of search overload, information overload, email overload, click fraud and most other problems with the Webosphere is the pay-per-click model. Read about something that elimates the need to search and advertise:

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