Did Microsoft just kill its anti-Google 'Scroogled' campaign?

Did Microsoft just kill its anti-Google 'Scroogled' campaign?

Summary: A Microsoft Corporate Vice President claims Microsoft is 'done' with its 'Scroogled' campaign. But is the company really Scroogled out?

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Has Microsoft quietly done away with its anti-Google "Scroogled" campaign?

scroogledkilled

Derrick Connell, a Microsoft Corporate Vice President in charge of the Bing Experiences team, said over the weekend in a hosted Q&A session that Microsoft is "now done with the (Scroogled) campaign.

The Scroogled campaign, which was masterminded, in large part, by former Hillary Clinton strategist Mark Penn -- who, after the latest reorg at Microsoft is Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer -- has met with mixed perceptions. Though few would question Microsoft's right to counter Google's products and policies via marketing campaigns of its own, the tone of the "Scroogled" campaign hasn't been to everyone's liking.

Microsoft's Scroogled Web site is still live, as is the Scroogled Twitter handle. (The last Twitter update from the team came on March 20, 2014.) Scroogled mugs, t-shirts and hats are still for sale (with profits donated to charity, according to the site.)

Here's the full context of what Connell said on Yabbly when asked what he thought of Scroogled:

Q: What do you think of the Scroogled campaign?

A: That campaign had a primary purpose so let me explain that first. The main purpose was to bring attention to some activities that we didn't like as a company (for e.g. the idea of scanning email for the purpose of selling you ads seemed wrong). As a company we deeply care about trustworthy computing and user privacy. We felt there were things happening in the industry that didn't match our world view, and the campaign was aimed at providing information to consumers.

It is tricky as you want to raise awareness and do it in a fun way. I think we achieved that goal, and changed some policies, and we are now done with the campaign. Mostly I feel proud that we decided to do it regardless of how we might be perceived.

When I asked Microsoft if the Scroogled campaign is, indeed, over and when the decision was made to pull the plug, a company spokesperson sent me the following statement:

“We are always evaluating and evolving our marketing campaigns. There are times when we use our marketing to highlight differences in how we see the world compared to competitors, and the Scroogled campaign is an example of this. Moving forward, we will continue to use all the right approaches and tactics when and where they make sense.”

To me, that statement doesn't completely close the door on Scroogled, but also doesn't outright deny that it's dead.

It's worth noting a few things here. First, Connell is not some random, low-level figure. He reports directly to Microsoft Executive Vice President Qi Lu, who runs the company's Applications and Services Group. Connell's Bing Experience team focuses on design, the Bing.com home page, Bing verticals and Bing-powered services across Microsoft. Connell is not a marketing guy, however.

Secondly, as Microsoft's official response indicates, whatever happens/happened to Scroogled, Microsoft is not throwing in the Google-compete towel. I'd expect Microsoft to continue to go on the offensive and defensive against Google. 

Finally, Penn no longer controls Microsoft's advertising budget, after the most recent reorg. So perhaps Chief Marketing Officer Chris Capossela may decide to put the company's advertising/marketing dollars elsewhere.

Update: Yabbly officials said Microsoft officials have requested the removal of the answers in Connell's AMA. So the Q&A I transcribed above is no longer available publicly.  

Topics: Privacy, Cloud, Google, Microsoft

About

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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43 comments
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  • It never worked to begin with

    Chromebooks, Android, Chrome and Google Docs all became more popular.
    VictorWho
    • Boy are you ignorant!

      Chromebooks are not more popular than anything. Google Docs is second rate and getting completely dominated by Office 365.

      http://blogs.computerworld.com/desktop-apps/23055/game-over-microsoft-office-killing-google-apps-and-anemic-iworks

      IE also has more market share than Chrome.

      http://thenextweb.com/insider/2013/11/01/ie11-takes-1-49-market-share-firefox-gains-bit-chrome-hits-27-month-low/

      The only correct thing you mentioned was Android.
      jhammackHTH
      • ChromeOS Over Windows 8/8.1

        I would personally choose ChromeOS over Windows 8/8.1 any day. Also The Chrome Web Browser has been becoming more and more popular... I now even have it on both my tablet and phone!

        GNU/Linux as well as FOSS Freedom! It is good to see more and more computers not pre-loaded with MS Crippled TrashWare!
        timothy.m.butterworth
      • Ignorance is relative

        Your IE statistics we're not accurate in 2013, nor are they accurate now. Chrome has 58.4% of the market, IE is at 9.4%. Look at the comments at the bottom of your link, no one believes those statistics from Net Apps.

        http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_stats.asp

        Chromebooks counts for 1 out of every 4 or 5 laptops sold, according to estimates. They outsell macbooks. And people that have them generally seem to enjoy them.

        Not bad for a browser that is only 5 years old, and an OS that is 3 years old.
        TheGreatAndyChow
  • I liked the gmail man better

    that was more good natured and funny. :)
    Mac_PC_FenceSitter
  • So Microsoft did not like the fact that..

    Using a robot to pick out words to match to ads to is not the same as secretly reading your emails. I could care less that Microsoft did not like this concept, and thus could care in the least about them telling me over and over what we already know. It is in writing, plain and simple as to what Google does. Of course Microsoft and the NSA are not reading your emails : : Actually, if they are that bored at Google, they can read my mail. I assume at the wages paid, they have better things to do.

    Thanks to Microsoft campaign against Chromebooks, the world is more aware of this great product. Not other way in this world to have fast, and inexpensive devices like ChromeOS offers. This year, 2014, is the year of the ChromeOS.

    Hope that the new CEO steers the ship in a better direction. Win9?
    mytake4this
    • Naah, Microsoft is just rationalising...

      ...after the act. Putting a professional troll like Mark Penn in charge of advertising was as disastrous an error of judgment as the Scroogled campaign. What is he still there for? Nadella should just can his useless ass.
      Nexxo
      • Good advertising

        If you are going to attack a competitor, do it with humor like the Apple "I'm Mac" ads. Also, the Scroogled campaign failed to convince me why I should use Bing or other MS services. If Google is that bad, I would not use Bing or Yahoo but someone like DuckDuckGo.
        Linux_Lurker
  • Microsoft need to sell on its strengths not by being negative

    It was a really dumb strategy, and just made Microsoft appear like a weak little brat, who could not compete with the cool guys. Microsoft is better than that, and as last weeks Build 2014 showed, needs to show how it can lead on being more positive, and open across different ecosystems, by demonstrating Service and Apps to Android and iOS.

    Oh and by opening Microsoft Stores in London, Paris and Berlin may help, along with providing Services to World Wide markets sooner, and not just US only services.
    JulesVerny
  • Like many ad campaigsn, there's a shelf life

    so likely just retiring it once the point came across.

    After awhile after people have seen any commercial or ad campaign they don't bother to look anymore, so it's money just wasted after that point.
    William.Farrel
    • It did make a good promotion of chromebooks though

      MS couldn't have helped more...
      jessepollard
      • all 2.1 million of them sold last year

        Subjective use of the term great for sure.
        Emacho
        • It looks like chome books sure did go up in marketshare

          Google’s Chromebook Outsells Apple’s MacBook In US In 2013, But iPad Leads Tablet Sales

          http://www.ibtimes.com/googles-chromebook-outsells-apples-macbook-us-2013-ipad-leads-tablet-sales-1521998
          mill3000@...
          • Those stats are dubious.

            However, anything that cheap is going to sell a fair amount. That doesn't make it a success, and reports are that return rates on Chromebooks are fairly high.
            jhammackHTH
          • True

            That's why Lumia 800s sell and none of the higher spec Windows Phones move.
            BigBernard
          • Ummm

            "anything that cheap is going to sell a fair amount. That doesn't make it a success"

            You realise, it kinda does? ;-)
            5haggi
          • That was genuinely funny, 5haggi

            ...and true.
            robinenbateau
      • Actually , it didn't do anything good for Chromebooks, as we both know.

        but you keep telling yourself whatever it is you need to Spin things in your usual negative way.

        On a that note, I still have yet to see a Chromebook in the wild, or even see anyone looking at them in the stores, so not sure what reference you're using the word "promotion" in.

        But hey, you got your world, and we have ours.
        William.Farrel
        • Looks like it did to me.

          Google’s Chromebook Outsells Apple’s MacBook In US In 2013, But iPad Leads Tablet Sales

          http://www.ibtimes.com/googles-chromebook-outsells-apples-macbook-us-2013-ipad-leads-tablet-sales-1521998
          mill3000@...
        • Well, it sure did not

          hurt Chromebook sales, did it?
          BoxOfParts