Bing's Holiday TV Campaign Attacks Google for Paid Shopping Ads

The Election Season Is Over, but for Bing, the Attacks Are About to Begin

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For some, it's the season of giving. For Bing, it's the season of attacking -- Google that is .

Tomorrow, Bing is premiering a new TV commercial [below] that calls out Google for recent changes it made to the Google Shopping section of its search engine, which essentially makes the section a pay-to-play zone. In the ad, a woman warns a friend who just bought a new pan he found on Google not to get "Scroogled."

"Google sells its shopping results," she tells him. "So while they look like honest search results, they're really paid ads."

"So you might not get the best price?" he asks.

"You don't even know what stores they've left out."

Cue the pan going up in flames.

But as Search Engine Land's Danny Sullivan explained back in May, the new Google approach is a bit more nuanced. "Merchants may continue to be listed within Google's free web search results. That's not changing," he wrote. "But those wanting to appear in a dedicated shopping search engine -- and in the Google Shopping boxes that will appear as part of Google's regular results -- will need to pay."

The ad will run on major TV networks, including including NBC, CNN and Fox News, a spokesperson said.

The "Scroogle" campaign is the second recent one from Bing to attack Google. In September, Bing launched a TV and digital campaign around the "Bing It On" challenge, which showed people selecting Bing over Google in the equivalent of a blind taste test for search.

"Many people don't even consciously use Google; it's essentially a habit," Bing Senior Director Lisa Gurry said at the time. "This campaign is designed to help them break that habit."

Bing has now broken its own habit of not taking on Google in its advertising. Former Bing marketing chief Eric Hadley wouldn't even mention Google by name, and opted for a strategy that focused on cultural relevancy over direct search warfare. But that approach is no more. The question is whether consumers will be receptive to the new tactic, or view it as desperation.

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