Some Bing execs once wouldn't even speak the name of its goliath competitor Google. But tonight the Microsoft search engine is kicking off a new marketing campaign with a TV commercial during the MTV Video Music Awards that showcases web users choosing Bing over Google in the equivalent of a blind taste test for search.
Dubbed "Bing It On," the commercials will target a young demographic and run over the next few months on MTV , Fox (including during the premieres of "Ben & Kate" and "American Dad"), The CW, FX, ABC Family and Hulu. The campaign will also be promoted across the web and in Microsoft retail stores. Creative duties were handled by CP&B.
Google still has nearly 69% market share in the U.S., according to July ComScore data, up from 65% a year earlier. This compares to a little less than 29% for Microsoft search, which includes searches on Yahoo thanks to the search partnership between the two companies, down from 30.5% in the same month last year.
So is Bing resorting to publicly challenging Google because it's now-or-never time?
"We've said from the beginning that Bing is a long-term investment for Microsoft," Bing Senior Director Lisa Gurry said in interview. "We're pleased with the growth of the business so far."
Ms. Gurry said the timing has more to do with Bing execs feeling confident that their search results are now consistently superior to Google's, backed by results from a Bing-commissioned head-to-head search test that 998 people took. Bing says 57.4% of the people chose Bing results more often, compared to 30.2% for Google.
Bing has set up a similar head-to-head test at BingItOn.com, where visitors choose five search queries, evaluate unbranded side-by -side results, and pick which results they prefer. (This reporter's test ended in a draw).
"Many people don't even consciously use Google; it's essentially a habit," Ms. Gurry said. "This campaign is designed to help them break that habit."