MSN in viral strategy to push search

MSN is launching a viral marketing campaign for its search facility featuring an avatar called Ms Dewey, a sassy American woman, as it seeks to break Google’s hold on the search market.

In the viral, Ms Dewey, played by US actress Janina Gavankar, appears on screen and users ask her to search for them. When a user searches, Ms Dewey responds with attitude, while MSN Search results appear to the side. If users have opened the window but fail to ask her to search for something, she begins to get agitated and reels off sarcastic comments, as well as knocking on the screen and saying: “Hello! Type something here,” while pointing to the search box.

Users can forward the viral and invite friends to use Ms Dewey to search from them.

The flash site makes no reference to Microsoft until the searches appear. A spokesman for Microsoft in the US says it is looking at new ways of introducing people to search.

Interpublic Group’s McCann Worldgroup and Omnicom Group web shop EVB created the Flash site, which observers say resembles the Crispin Porter & Bogusky “Subservient Chicken” execution for Burger King.

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