Microsoft’s Loudest PR Campaign in Years: It’s Binging

BingIt starts with a bing. Imagine an empty bucket falling on the stairs – it makes a pretty similar sound: bing, bang, boom. Microsoft decided that its new search engine shall be called “Bing” and they launched the PR campaign for it with a press release yesterday.

Naturally, the bi(n)g names of the media hurried to cover the news, and so we read on The New York Times for example that Microsoft’s Search for a Name Ends With a Bing.

Bada bing, bada boom, just like that! I already discussed why I consider Bing not such a brilliant choice, so now I will just repeat the pros: it’s stupid, and it is proven that stupidity is catchy. Microsoft has every chance to make this a popular brand, especially in China! And let’s not forget the inmates who will now have happier thoughts when hearing “bing.” Great choice, Microsoft. Great choice (!). I mentioned The New York Times above because there was something that stroke me curiously in Miguel Helft’s article:

Some branding experts said choosing the name Bing was a good start

I always like it when a journalist gives me a reason to ponder: who were those brilliant branding experts who praise a name without even considering what it means? Mr. Helft doesn’t mention all their names, but he does mention two experts – one “pro-bing” and one “against-bing.”

“Bing has no equity; it signals nothing,” Peter Sealey, former chief-marketing officer for Coca-Cola said. “It is going to be an enormous expense to create an image for this thing called Bing.”

This is the funniest statement in the history of branding I guess. Bing is noisy, loud, idiotic and in “signals” a lot to way too many people (as you could discover here)! Microsoft invested a lot in this campaign, very true – and it probably had to pay the geniuses who came up with “bing” as well – but the expense is really not so necessary. The coverage online comes free of charge (unless Microsoft paid for the positive review by Rafe Needleman for example, which I don’t really doubt considering the latest CNET events).

It doesn’t take a genius marketer to promote something like “bing.” The brand name is annoying enough to be remembered forever. The question is, how will the search industry welcome this noisy baby when released on Wednesday, next week? Now that’s the real challenge, because if the engine is as good as Rafe Needleman says, then Google will probably see a fast decline.

Last but not least, to blow my own horn, I already predicted that Microsoft is the only entity with the will and potential to dethrone Google in search, so I wonder why Needleman got the exclusive instead. Huh?

Stefan Weitz, a director on the Microsoft Search team, discusses how Bing was developed around users’ needs, focusing on four key areas: speed, relevance, previews and multi-media.


  1. Mihaela Lica says

    Right, although it is still a pretty annoying name. Judging from what I read, the search engine is kick ass (hey, am I allowed to spell that online?) I can hardly wait for the release. If Bing is as good as Needleman and others say, I will kiss Google buh-bye in a flash!

  2. says

    The debate about the ‘salience’ of the name by so called branding experts is irrelevant. For Bing to succeed in a competitively sustainable way it has to deliver a meaningful value proposition in the perception of users. Bombing the ‘air waves’ might attract attention, it is incapable of altering or improving the fundmental solution offer. You can put lipstick on a pig…

    I have been involved in some of the biggest and high profile games and gaming launches in the past. No amount of hype ever turned a bad game into a good one!

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