Are you a Microsoft enthusiast, or just Scroogled?

By Kip Kniskern | Posted April 10, 2013 34 comments

scroogledHere we go again, another day, and another negative ad campaign coming from Microsoft, this time attacking supposed privacy problems with Android phones.  Carrying on with the “Scroogled” theme, where Microsoft, apparently unable to make much of a dent in Google’s dominance on its own merits, takes to attacking Google for some perceived violation or another.  Here’s the latest ad:

Of course the problem is that along with attacking Google, Microsoft is leaving itself open to attacks of its own.  Google itself hasn’t bothered to respond directly, but plenty of commenters and pundits have voiced their displeasure with the tone and substance of the ads.  Responding to an earlier set of “Scroogled” attacks, Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan takes his usual thorough approach to dissecting the real difference between Google and Bing in a post he titled “Bing Attacks Google Shopping With “Scroogled” Campaign, Forgets It’s Guilty Of Same Problems”.  After pointing out that Bing actually uses many of the same techniques that Google does in its Shopping vertical, Sullivan says:

In other words, if you want to be in Bing, you have to pay — exactly like Google.

Moreover, the page says that merchants doing this will get:

  • Higher visibility: Paid offers will be highlighted throughout Bing Shopping, including search result and product pages.

Higher visibility in search results? You mean you’ll rank better in search results, by paying to be listed? In the search results that Bing just told consumers that payment isn’t a factor?

Now as it turns out, after talking with Bing today, it’s not as simple as all that. But from a consumer standpoint, which is what this entire campaign that Bing has launched is about, it does appear Bing is being completely hypocritical, based on information out there in the public view.

Dissecting the intricacies of what Bing does and doesn’t do vs. Google is one thing, but there’s a whole other argument against the “Scroogled” campaign: it just makes Microsoft look bad.  In a post on Search Engine Watch in March, Lisa Barone explains why negativity just doesn’t work:

If you need to spend your time trashing your competitors to convince users not to use their product, you have a sucky product. If you didn’t you’d be too excited talking about your benefits and features to worry about someone else’s. But you’re not. You’re spreading negativity about someone not even in the room.

Unfortunately for you, consumers are smart. And they’ve been through high school. They know the reason you can’t take your eyes off them is because you secretly wish you were them.

Insecurity isn’t sexy. It makes people wonder why you’re more concerned with your competition than your own capabilities. You won’t like the answer they come up with.

In another negative-trending attack, Microsoft’s Frank Shaw last week took to the Official Microsoft Blog to damn Facebook with faint praise for its “Facebook Home” treatment coming for Android.  Shaw said he needed to check his calendar (luckily for him, Outlook.com had finally released an updated calendar, some 8 months late) to make sure it wasn’t 2011:

Because the content of the presentation was remarkably similar to the launch event we did for Windows Phone two years ago.

Shaw’s smug defense of the superiority of Windows Phone, where the market shows a decidedly different story, didn’t go over too well either.  MG Siegler (aka Paris Lemon) was blunt in his assessment:

If you have to tell people you won, you lost.

 

 

We’ve been following Microsoft, and using Microsoft products for a long time, because we like them.  Why not focus on that?  The Sinofsky years led to the severing of almost all ties to any enthusiasm offered up by consumers, and users were punished instead of praised for their interest in what Microsoft was planning on doing next.  The ultimate goal seemed to be in keeping secrets rather than releasing products, and the pace of innovation, Windows Blue or not, is still dreadfully slow.  Instead of getting “Scroogled”, we’d much prefer to be Microsoft’d by a barrage of new products, new ideas, and a new pace of innovation.  How about you?

Posted April 10th, 2013 at 11:03 am
  • http://www.windows8brasil.com/ Luandersonn Airton Sousa Silva

    I not only not like that kind of publicity. I hate!

    Microsoft, stop it. NOW. You are doing well with their products and do not need to do this with Google.

    Sorry my bad English.

  • http://www.windows8brasil.com/ Luandersonn Airton Sousa Silva

    I not only not like that kind of publicity. I hate!

    Microsoft, stop it. NOW. You are doing well with their products and do not need to do this with Google.

    Sorry my bad English.

  • jkavanagh58

    Everyone says they hate negative campaigns yet they seem to work in other areas. Additionally we hate the ads because we are fans of their products, but I would guess we are not the demographic they are targetting. They are going after the people who automatically associate a web search with “I googled it” and won’t look at anything else and in turn they wouldn’t consider any products not from google simply because of name recognition and convenience.

    • Mario Albertico

      There’s a good point made here; the targeted audience for these ads is much like the “low-information voters” of the American electorate (I mean no offense, it just reminded me of that popular term during this last election cycle). In a sense, I think they accomplish the goal of “waking” up Google users (i.e. making them aware of their activity). Whether Microsoft is in the right in doing so is a different question, but one with an answer that I believe should consider the dire marketing-end situation of the Bing/Microsoft brand.

  • jkavanagh58

    Everyone says they hate negative campaigns yet they seem to work in other areas. Additionally we hate the ads because we are fans of their products, but I would guess we are not the demographic they are targetting. They are going after the people who automatically associate a web search with “I googled it” and won’t look at anything else and in turn they wouldn’t consider any products not from google simply because of name recognition and convenience.

    • Mario Albertico

      There’s a good point made here; the targeted audience for these ads is much like the “low-information voters” of the American electorate (I mean no offense, it just reminded me of that popular term during this last election cycle). In a sense, I think they accomplish the goal of “waking” up Google users (i.e. making them aware of their activity). Whether Microsoft is in the right in doing so is a different question, but one with an answer that I believe should consider the dire marketing-end situation of the Bing/Microsoft brand.

  • Alex

    I agree. I feel tired of not only “Scroogled” but also “Smoked by Windows Phone”, especially the later one:

    At first, it gives an impression to non-WP users that Windows Phone can do certain things in faster way (e.g. tag friends in photo and upload to Facebook, check-in in Facebook, etc.) But later in a local event similar to “Smoked by Windows Phone” hosted by Nokia/ Microsoft in Hong Kong, one of the tasks was reboot the phone as fast as you can. Seriously? How often do you need to reboot your phone? Is this really an advantage? Is Nokia/ Microsoft implying that WP7 reboot faster because user need to do it frequently so they make it faster? Even WP7 won many times in the reboot speed competition during the event, I still consider it as a big FAIL for the marketing department.

    I think iOS and Android has those tight social network integration and instant camera built-in already. What still makes WP different from iOS and Android is the UI, wallet, room, consistency among WP devices from various brands and other unique features. Why not spend some effort to promote them? Why keep blaming your competitors? Why bring Apple’s “Mac vs PC” mindset to your users? Why can’t Microsoft just shut up and offer great products and services? I’m very harsh about this but I really hate those advertisements/ campaigns. I HATE those “blah blah blah is worse then ours so you should use our products/ services”. Those kind of advertisements only lead to more trolls and making us (loyal Windows Phone customers) unhappy. Remember “Scroogled” once attracted people (read: Google services users) attack bing on twitter? I don’t know what is the intention of marketing department/ PR of Microsoft but I think they made serious mistakes and still don’t know how to promote their products by listing out the advantages and benefits of using Microsoft’s products and services.

    I use Windows 8 on my desktop PC and notebook. I own 2 Windows Phone devices. I use bing exclusively. I own an Xbox 360. I use Outlook.com for web email service. I use SkyDrive. But I’m still afraid of promoting Microsoft’s ecosystem to my friends, why? Because (1) there are still many places that Microsoft need to improve and (2) those “stupid” advertisements/ campaigns made me feel embarrassed.

  • Alex

    I agree. I feel tired of not only “Scroogled” but also “Smoked by Windows Phone”, especially the later one:

    At first, it gives an impression to non-WP users that Windows Phone can do certain things in faster way (e.g. tag friends in photo and upload to Facebook, check-in in Facebook, etc.) But later in a local event similar to “Smoked by Windows Phone” hosted by Nokia/ Microsoft in Hong Kong, one of the tasks was reboot the phone as fast as you can. Seriously? How often do you need to reboot your phone? Is this really an advantage? Is Nokia/ Microsoft implying that WP7 reboot faster because user need to do it frequently so they make it faster? Even WP7 won many times in the reboot speed competition during the event, I still consider it as a big FAIL for the marketing department.

    I think iOS and Android has those tight social network integration and instant camera built-in already. What still makes WP different from iOS and Android is the UI, wallet, room, consistency among WP devices from various brands and other unique features. Why not spend some effort to promote them? Why keep blaming your competitors? Why bring Apple’s “Mac vs PC” mindset to your users? Why can’t Microsoft just shut up and offer great products and services? I’m very harsh about this but I really hate those advertisements/ campaigns. I HATE those “blah blah blah is worse then ours so you should use our products/ services”. Those kind of advertisements only lead to more trolls and making us (loyal Windows Phone customers) unhappy. Remember “Scroogled” once attracted people (read: Google services users) attack bing on twitter? I don’t know what is the intention of marketing department/ PR of Microsoft but I think they made serious mistakes and still don’t know how to promote their products by listing out the advantages and benefits of using Microsoft’s products and services.

    I use Windows 8 on my desktop PC and notebook. I own 2 Windows Phone devices. I use bing exclusively. I own an Xbox 360. I use Outlook.com for web email service. I use SkyDrive. But I’m still afraid of promoting Microsoft’s ecosystem to my friends, why? Because (1) there are still many places that Microsoft need to improve and (2) those “stupid” advertisements/ campaigns made me feel embarrassed.

  • http://twitter.com/archisgore Archis

    Gosh I’m worried now. I have followed LiveSide since you guys figured out the name Horizon wayyy back in 2008. You even used Soapbox for God’s sake! It was flattering. When have seen positive in Windows Live for over 7 years when not many within Windows Live would have agreed. When you folks tend to get sarcastic or negative, it feels strange. :-)

  • arcana112
  • http://twitter.com/archisgore Archis

    Gosh I’m worried now. I have followed LiveSide since you guys figured out the name Horizon wayyy back in 2008. You even used Soapbox for God’s sake! It was flattering. When have seen positive in Windows Live for over 7 years when not many within Windows Live would have agreed. When you folks tend to get sarcastic or negative, it feels strange. :-)

  • arcana112
  • Mario Albertico

    The only qualm I have with these ads is how cheap they look and feel. When I first saw the original “Scroogled” ad on TV, I felt like I was on YouTube and a low-budget local commercial had injected itself before my video. Would I prefer Microsoft to advertise their ecosystem in a more inspirational manner that actually shows off features/functionality? Absolutely. I don’t think the “Scroogled” idea isn’t as horrible; it’s the lighting, acting, staging of the ads that utterly disappoint before we get to understand why such attack ads are a sensible move by Microsoft’s experimenting marketing branch.

  • Mario Albertico

    The only qualm I have with these ads is how cheap they look and feel. When I first saw the original “Scroogled” ad on TV, I felt like I was on YouTube and a low-budget local commercial had injected itself before my video. Would I prefer Microsoft to advertise their ecosystem in a more inspirational manner that actually shows off features/functionality? Absolutely. I don’t think the “Scroogled” idea isn’t as horrible; it’s the lighting, acting, staging of the ads that utterly disappoint before we get to understand why such attack ads are a sensible move by Microsoft’s experimenting marketing branch.

  • http://twitter.com/narkor Narkor

    I’m a PC / I’m a Mac – negative campaigning at its finest. Sure you had a whinge about that Kip. Oh wait.

  • Narkor

    I’m a PC / I’m a Mac – negative campaigning at its finest. Sure you had a whinge about that Kip. Oh wait.

  • http://www.mainstreetchatham.com/ JimmyFal

    Apple pioneered this type of advertising. Back then I was disgusted by it, and I still am. Mostly because it worked for Apple.

  • http://www.mainstreetchatham.com/ JimmyFal

    Apple pioneered this type of advertising. Back then I was disgusted by it, and I still am. Mostly because it worked for Apple.

  • http://twitter.com/jwk6 Jason Kohlhoff

    Other corporations, media personalities, bloggers, Mac and Linux Fanboys, etc. have been making false and/or hypocritical claims about Microsoft for years. And you want us to feel bad now that Microsoft is FINALLY firing back and defending itself?!?

    I’m a Microsoft enthusiast, and Google can gargle my testicles!

  • Jason Kohlhoff

    Other corporations, media personalities, bloggers, Mac and Linux Fanboys, etc. have been making false and/or hypocritical claims about Microsoft for years. And you want us to feel bad now that Microsoft is FINALLY firing back and defending itself?!?

    I’m a Microsoft enthusiast, and Google can gargle my testicles!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jer-Ming-Chen/833833653 Jer Ming Chen

    As much as hate PC vs. Mac ads, it worked.

  • JJ

    As much as hate PC vs. Mac ads, it worked.

  • http://finevideoart.blogspot.com/ Tiph

    Microsoft makes some damn awesome video games. I’m def a microsoft enthusiast. Windows phone could become the gamers phone…ya know?

  • http://finevideoart.blogspot.com/ Tiph

    Microsoft makes some damn awesome video games. I’m def a microsoft enthusiast. Windows phone could become the gamers phone…ya know?

  • http://rubbercat.net/ rubber cat

    Mark Penn: “People love political ads, right???”

  • http://rubbercat.net/ rubber cat

    Mark Penn: “People love political ads, right???”

  • http://systemadminthings.com/ Yusuf Panjri

    Microsoft is trying hard to compete in mobile market…Pointing out the faults a competitor is a fine strategy. Microsoft should realize that only offering a good product that will actually beats your competitor.

  • http://systemadminthings.com/ Yusuf Panjri

    Microsoft is trying hard to compete in mobile market…Pointing out the faults a competitor is a fine strategy. Microsoft should realize that only offering a good product that will actually beats your competitor.