Microsoft is about to roll out a “a multimillion-pound TV ad campaign” for Bing in the UK market, where it has less than a 5 percent share of searches. Google by contrast has roughly 90 percent. According to the Guardian:
The ads feature ordinary people asking for information and receiving nonsensical, “speaking-in-tongues” answers; one early spot has a woman seeking directions to Euston station.
The TV campaign will run solidly for a month and then in two-week bursts until mid-June. It will be backed by a digital campaign across Microsoft’s network and on media including social networking websites.
Highfield said that a key aim of the campaign was to contrast the “visually rich” Bing with the relatively austere-looking Google.
From the description, the campaign sounds like the one that launched Bing in the US. Advertising such as this does work to gain awareness. The question then becomes: will people like the experience?
It’s unclear how much of a role the mostly humorous TV ads for Bing played in the early success of the new Microsoft search engine. But I would argue in general they were helpful and raised curiosity at a minimum, backed up by a massive online ad campaign and PR.
By analogy, Verizon’s ads on behalf of its “Droid” line of phones in the US have been successful in appealing to men, tarring the market-leading iPhone to some degree as a “girlie device” and boosting Android awareness overall. So it’s quite possible that the forthcoming Bing campaign can peel off a slice of the audience from Google.
However, don’t expect the ads to have any immediate, significant impact on the distribution of search market share in the UK.