Is $100 million enough to help Microsoft gain search share?

Is $100 million enough to help Microsoft gain search share?

Summary: 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.

TOPICS: Microsoft

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"?

Topic: Microsoft


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Could it? Yes. Will it? No.

    Why do I think that? Gut feeling. Given the information provided that's about all we have to go with.
    Michael Kelly
    • M$ is getting scared but not that desperate,

      InAction Man
    • Sounds like a waste of money. Everybody already knows what MS is, and they

      do NOT like it.

      How about fixing the product first!!!

      Oh, and with things like the TomTom lawsuit, they are really hurting their brand, then they think they can just pay to fix the damage.

      Khumo is a brand for cheap tires by the way. First thing, spend 10 bucks to come up with a better name.

      Then they might have a cat in hells chance of attracting people to their search, although we already know that it won't work properly and will have hooks that try to force you in one direction or another.
  • Rebranded is worthless don't they get that by now?

    How many times do they have to re brand MSN, search etc before they learn that's not the issue?

    So sad what is this the 10,000 time?
  • MSN search, Live search, call it what

    you want to, it is still crap.
    • True, they can call it ANYTHING they want, but, in the end it is MSN, and

  • Marketing for MS has always...

    been the key. Especially since most of their products are 2nd rate or poor copies of their competitions. Win95 couldn't even come close to OS/2 Warp when it can out, but flashy marketing convinced a clueless consumer otherwise. NT was so far behind Netware that it wasn't even in the same class but once again marketing convinced the clueless otherwise. Word sucked compared to WP but once again.....

    However, the consumer has become better educated and marketing has become less effective for MS. Vista is a prime example. And MS' attempt at the Internet has produced dog after dog, much of which they discontinued to keep from being embarrassed.

    The IT user has become too sophisticated to be fooled by marketing hype. Of course there are those clueless diehards that continue to bite hook, line and sinker because they can't think for themselves. Or in the case of IT professionals (quite a misnomer), they don't have the skills to rise above products that require thinking so they are stuck being able to do only what MS allows them to do. But with the latter becoming less the norm, marketing is no longer able to convince consumers that flash doesn't equal quality.

    MS can spend all they want for marketing. But each dollar spent is giving less and less return.

    If MS was giving the consumer what they wanted and giving them true value for their money spent, marketing wouldn't be needed.
    • Ummmmm...

      "Wow" "Zune" "squirt" "the social" and now "Kumo"???? If this is the best of MS's marketing, the lot of them should be fired.
    • Marketing for MS

      You have pretty well captured the issue here. It is
      the long term market reputation that MS has
      garnered over the years. Bad half baked non-
      innovative products, use monopoly as a market
      lever, and artificially hype their products while
      denigrating the competitors products, and all the
      while spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt. The
      chickens have come home to roost with respect to
      changing this with advertising.
  • MS search is a bad joke

    the largest ship in the sea without a captain, helmsman or rudder.
  • Nope

    Google is search as far as the public is concerned, MS just might as well set fire to $100M. MS just don't seem to be able to make a profit out of anything other than Office/OS.

    Martin Sorrell ain't going to save MSN, you can't polish a .........
    Alan Smithie
  • 5th chance at a 1st impression?

    I'm glad that someone is getting business in this difficult economy. I don't look forward to sitting through those commercials . . .

    In some ways, M$ has the same problem with Google that Linux has with M$ - if the existing service is good (great?), then why switch? M$ even tried bribery for people to use their Live Search - and that didn't even work.

    Google is great. Scroogle(.org) is even better. How does one challenge that?
    Roger Ramjet
  • RE: Is $100 million enough to help Microsoft gain search share?

    Only if they pay a $100 each to a million people who might try it. I tried it, ho hum, me too, oh well....back to Google, thanks.

    MSN still exists? Must be nice to have money to burn in this economy.
    • Excellent idea! I want my $100.(nt)

  • Ballmer RETIRE!!!

    For crying out loud... First Ballmer disses Apple, and now their way of explaining their situation is by running commercials and renaming things? This company has LOST IT!!! Ballmer needs to retire NOW...
    • Yes, the ugly fat bald guy with a short deeeiiick is looking more stupid

      every day. He can rattle the sabers all he wants, but, nobody is paying any attention.
      • Insults

        Somehow, you didn't seem like the kind of guy that throws insults around; at least it appeared so based on the way you held other debaters to such a standard. Hmmm.

        The rules changed?
        tick tock
        • Come on, making fun of executives of large companies is fair game.

          Insulting other people posting talkbacks when you do not have an argument usually falls flat.
      • the bitter tone isn't necessary

        I'm more interested in ideas then rants.