The software business is launching the nationwide “Bing it On” campaign today (10 October) to jolt what it claims are “sleepwalking” shoppers into making an active decision about the search engine they use. It cites a study of 2,000 British adults from earlier this month that revealed 29 per cent could not decide which platform to use as proof of an untapped user base.
The strategy centres on an online portal where consumers enter a query before being served with unbranded results from both Bing and Google. Visitors are asked to repeat the process five times picking their preferred result, or choosing a draw if they cannot decide. It then reveals which search engine they prefer, which Microsoft claims is a “win-win” for both brands.
Dave Coplin, chief envisioning officer for Microsoft UK, told Marketing Week it wants Bing to be seen as a “humble” brand through the campaign instead of casting accusations at its rival. It revived its anti-Google crusade in February with a more direct swipe at the brand, but says the latest effort is more focused on getting users to break the habit of a lifetime and “actually think” about the search engine they use.
Coplin adds: “It doesn’t matter who wins the test. What we’re interested in is those people who can’t decide between Bing or Google because it’s further evidence that there is not much separating the two. [Consumers and advertisers] don’t think we’re relevant at the moment and so through the campaign, alongside how we promote Bing through our other services, we’re showing how crucial it can be to their search activity.”
An online video push sees comic and actor Dan Jones challenge Londoners to take the test – awarding those participants that pick Google with an Xbox 360, while asking for their jumpers if they pick Bing.
It is hoping the quirky campaign highlights the progress Bing has made over the last year after results from more 1,000 using the tool earlier this year allayed concerns any direct comparisons would damage the Bing brand. Of those surveyed, 53 per cent of consumers picked Bing over Google, while 34 per cent picked the latter over the former and the remaining 13 per cent were undecided.
Microsoft expects the comparison to spark debate between Bing and Google advocates in the coming days, but admits it is still “figuring out’ how it will respond and generate additional PR.
It is a slight deviation from the Bing brand’s roadmap to use Microsoft’s cross-platform suite of services such as Skype and Xbox, rather than launch major consumer facing campaigns.
Coplin says: “We’re optimistic about how good Bing is but we know we’re not bad enough to deserve the market share that we have. We know that 29 per cent of people out there are not making an active brand choice when they use a search engine; it’s more due to habit. We’re not pointing the finger at Google and saying we’re better than them. We’re just saying we’re as good as they are.”