A key piece of Microsoft's strategy to increase its search query share is to rebrand it and (finally) market the heck out of it. According to a new report in Advertising Age, "the heck," in this case, is worth about $100 million.
Ad Age reported on April 1 that advertising agency JWT has won the bid to help Microsoft rebrand and market Live Search. From their story:
"Industry executives expect JWT, part of WPP, to unveil an estimated $80 million to $100 million push for the new search engine in June, with online, TV, print and radio executions."
(JWT is the same agency that last year won the bid to help try to salvage Microsoft's "People Ready" campaign for business software.)
Microsoft is spending an estimated $300 million with agency Crispin Porter to goose its Windows brands via the "Life Without Walls" campaign. It is spending an estimated $200 million in the updated "People Ready" campaign (the current phase of which is known as "It's Everybody's Business"). And now it's going to spend up to $100 million to rebrand Live Search as "Kumo" -- or whatever the final name ends up being. ( I'm still thinking it's Kumo, and not "Kiev" -- a codename I've heard associated more with Microsoft's vertical search properties, like travel, celebrities, healthcare, etc.)
Sure, $100 million is a lot of money. But as one commentator on the Ad Age site noted, Microsoft originally was planning to spend multiple billions ($45 billion, to be precise) to buy Yahoo in order to boost its search share.
What do you think? Will a multi-million dollar ad campaign and rebrand result in more users being willing to "Kumo it," instead of "Google it"?