How Do You Say Bing with a British Accent?

Bing PR

Having pushed the project pretty hard in the US, Microsoft feels it’s time to go global with its Bing marketing. The company announced its plans to reveal several television ad spots in the UK, promoting Microsoft Bing as a prevalent search engine. The idea, of course, is to convince consumers that Bing is better than Google for search.

The UK television ads will be quite similar to the Bing commercials shown in the US, with someone asking a question of another, only to receive a spewing stream of incoherent answers. The ads are initially slotted to run a full month, according to MarketingWeek, then break down into two-week increments afterward. The type of ad chosen to run in the UK reiterates Microsoft’s desire to differentiate Bing from Google, going for a more organized and media-centric take on web search.

So will the branding work? In the US, the ads were cute, but futile. Not that the commercials weren’t effective in driving traffic to Bing, or in piquing our curiosity. The amusing commercials certainly convinced me to give Bing a second try, just to see if the results really were more coherent than what I’ve learned to navigate on Google. Sadly, the commercials were misleading, as many of the Bing results I got were either quite similar to what I receive on Google, or still not any more helpful than what I would have found otherwise.

Nevertheless, Bing has managed to keep its name and its project afloat, seeking a global strategy towards biting into Google’s dominating presence across the world. It’s been the lofty goal of all the rival search engines, which seem unable to crack very deep into the continent-crossing penetration Google has affected on a large scale. And Google isn’t the only one that Microsoft is after, with Bing. Yahoo has a larger stake than Microsoft in the UK, giving Bing a hefty task towards taking a larger piece of the search engine pie.

This will be the first time that Bing has run television ad spots in the UK, even though the search engine has been available for some time. While such efforts seem to be a mainstream approach towards consumer adoption, even Google has turned to television and print media marketing in order to retain this type of connection to attract consumers. As far as Bing is concerned, this is a good way to go about spreading its message to the general public.

Additionally, Microsoft seems to have the added benefit of a partnership with Yahoo for ad sales through its search engine, which is an agreement recently approved by both the US Department of Justice, and the European Commission. While the ad sales partnership may not directly affect Bing’s new marketing campaign in the UK, it does emphasize Microsoft’s desire to gain market share on a global scale.

We’ll know in a few weeks if the Bing commercials in the UK were successful at all, though Bing still has a ways to go before it can truly contend with Google. Nearly all of us web users have grown comfortable with using Google, meaning its effectiveness is somewhat of a learned behavior. This will take more than a year to overcome. Additionally, Google continues to roll out new features and search engine implementation, even as Microsoft does the same with Bing. The result is Google still having more custom, advanced and integrated search options than Bing, though Bing has a relatively rapid roll-out for new features to enhance the Bing experience (i.e. map layers, video search and real time results via social media tools).

Droga 5 serves as longtime advertising agency for Bing.

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