Email campaign politics: Microsoft goes negative

By Kip Kniskern | In News | Posted February 2, 2012

putting people firstHere in the United States, we’re in the early stages of a presidential campaign season, and, as usual, the ads are going negative.  Newt Gingrich just lost a big primary election in Florida, largely, he believes, because of the negative ad campaign run against him by Mitt Romney.  “The 2012 Republican presidential campaign is ugly and likely to get uglier, because going negative works”, the Modesto Bee says, and indeed, for Romney, it seems to have had a major effect on the Florida primary.

Cue Microsoft.  Perhaps taking note of what’s been a well known tactic of campaign politics for years, Microsoft this week has gone on the offensive with a campaign that seeks not so much to promote Hotmail and Office 365, but to attack Google and Gmail.

Yesterday, Microsoft took out full page ads in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and USA Today, slamming Google’s changes to its privacy policies, and inviting users to switch to Hotmail or Office 365.  They also released a video, featuring the “Gmail Man”, doing much the same thing:

[youtube_video]TDbrX5U75dk[/youtube_video]

And today, Corporate VP of Communications for Microsoft Frank X. Shaw blogged about the ads and slung a bit more mud in Google’s direction, saying:

As they did yesterday, Google is going to continue to muddy the water here by saying that they offer a variety of privacy controls, and you can use “as much or as little Google as you’d like.”

If you are willing to:

1. Endure the headache of creating and managing multiple dummy accounts

2. Use separate browsers to segregate your communications, social, and video log-ins

3. Sign in and out of your accounts throughout the day to de-couple specific activities as needed.

Or, you can simply switch to Hotmail or Office 365. That sounds a whole lot easier to me. Take a closer look and decide for yourself. Smile

Shaw, of course, is no stranger to mixing it up with competitors, and has been known to get into “slapfights” over Twitter.  This latest campaign pitting Hotmail and Office 365 against Gmail is seemingly part of a larger effort on Microsoft’s part to learn from their political campaign brethren and go negative.

For its part, Google responded yesterday to the newspaper ads, seeking to dispel “myths” and taking a couple of potshots of its own.

The question is, will it work?  Some comments on the Gmail Man YouTube page don’t seem to think so.  SRakash says:

To Microsoft: Dont promote Your Product by showing what the problem is with others products, Promote it by showing whats GOOD in YOUR products!

and bhowarth chimes in:

This video is simply hypocritical and another example of how Microsoft has horrible marketing.

So, what do you think?  Does going negative work?  Do you think Microsoft is making valid points, or are they “simply hypocritical”?  Are you encouraged, or offended, by the recent attacks on Google?

To Microsoft: Dont promote Your Product by showing what the problem is with others products, Promote it by showing whats GOOD in YOUR products! To Microsoft: Dont promote Your Product by showing what the problem is with others products, Promote it by showing whats GOOD in YOUR products!

Posted February 2nd, 2012 at 10:55 am
Category: News
Tags: Hotmail