Watch the Spots

Bing Marketing Moves From Search Overload to 'Los Links'

Microsoft Makes Share Gains, but Can an Internet Brand Be Built Using Old Media?

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- It is often said about the internet that you cannot advertise your way to market share. At least that's what former Ask.com CEO Jim Lanzone will tell you. Priceline.com and Hulu, of course, have other ideas.

So what of Microsoft's $100 million campaign for Bing? Its query share hit 11.8% in April, according to ComScore, up from 8.4% since Microsoft's search service was re-launched 10 months ago. "Bing continues to impress with continued market share gains," Citibank analyst Mark Mahaney said in a research note.

Google's share dropped a touch over the past year, from 65.1% a year ago to 64.4% today. If Microsoft and Yahoo had completed the planned merger of their back-end search operations today, their combined share would be nearly 30%, the threshold at which execs at both companies believe they can be competitive with Google.

So, are Bing's gains the product of the advertising or of the product itself? Until the Super Bowl in February, for example, Google had not done any TV advertising.

Initially, Microsoft's ads, created by JWT, were about establishing the problem: Search results are often confusing and irrelevant. "When we launched, we focused our creative on the idea of search overload," said Natalie Bow, group manager for advertising and brand for Bing.com and MSN. "We have a pretty large arsenal now of television spots that we keep in rotation so it doesn't feel like we're wearing out any piece of creative."

Now Microsoft is launching the next phase, "Los Links," a tongue-in-cheek campaign to establish Bing as hero of search overload. The series is a spoof of Mexican telenovelas; the first ad will appear on TV, but subsequent "episodes" will appear online only.

"We want to see if we can we start the cultural conversation on TV and then continue it online," Ms. Bow said. But what metrics is Microsoft looking for? "Sessions per user is a more important indicator," she said. "That is where you get the loyalty; increasing the number of sessions is where you start to see a brand take off."

Below are the "Los Links Uno" and "Los Links Dos" spots. "Dos" has not yet been released on the web. Ms. Bow said JWT is reviewing scripts now for "Tres" and "Cuatro."

Get ready to see plenty of them. Ms. Bow said Microsoft will keep up the current level of spending in the coming year to continue to build the Bing.com brand. "Any time you launch a challenger brand, you need to solidify your place in the market, and that is going to take more than a year to do," she said.
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JWT
Los Links Son Malos - Uno

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JWT
Los Links Son Malos - Dos
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