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Search Engineer Stars in New Ask.com Ads

In-house Spots Got Help From Berlin Cameron United

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Ask.com is pulling popular ads out of rotation and rolling out TV spots that feature the engineer who created the search engine's core technologies.
Ask.com's new ads feature its chief engineer.
Ask.com's new ads feature its chief engineer.


The ads, which originated in-house and were created with the help of WPP Group's Berlin Cameron United, New York, are unscripted. The ads show Apostolos Gerasoulis telling consumers why Ask.com is great, and follow the middle-aged, Greek-accented, long-haired techie with an advanced degree in applied mathematics as he uses the search engine to learn about subjects he wasn't knowledgeable about -- like pimped-out cars and hip-hop.

'Passion and authenticity'
"Internally, we loved his passion and authenticity for the brand and we thought who better to talk to users and show users why Ask.com is a better search engine?" said Greg Ott, VP-marketing, Ask.com.

These ads are being released only two months after the launch of memorable monkey-filled ads created by Omnicom Group's TBWA/Chiat/Day, San Francisco. IAG Research ranked one of those ads, where an ape-like creature finds tips on the Web on how to impress girls, the 10th most-recalled new spot that aired between March 27 and April 23.

"Part of our philosophy as a company is we're always innovating and always trying to bring new things to our users, and we apply that same approach to our marketing," Mr. Ott said.

No dissatisfaction with TBWA
The change in campaigns and the use of a new agency does not represent dissatisfaction with TBWA or the old spots, Mr. Ott said, adding that using two agencies allowed the search engine to work most efficiently.

The new spots are scheduled to air during prime-time shows like NBC's "Scrubs" and "Will & Grace" and Fox's "24" and on cable.

Ask.com, newly rebranded from Ask Jeeves, is slugging it out in the crowded and highly competitive search category, trailing Google, Yahoo, MSN, AOL and Myway as of November 2005, according to Nielsen/NetRatings.
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