Microsoft’s Scroogled Ad Campaign Appears To Be Working

The Scroogled advertising campaign undertaken by Microsoft to ding and scuff its rival Google appears to be an effective effort, according to statistics recently published by AdAge. That publication’s report details data collected for Microsoft by Answers Research indicating that, following a visit to, Google’s favorability gap with Bing with users fades from 45 points, to 5.

Also in the AdWeek report is internal Microsoft data, indicating that after watching a Scroogled ad, the chance of a viewer recommending Google to a friend falls by 10 percent. The chance that they recommend Bing rises by 7 percent after watching the same ad.

So what we can take from this is that Microsoft likely isn’t going to give up on the Scroogled push any time soon. The ads, pitting Bing against a somewhat strawmanned Google, are slightly reminiscent of the now historical Mac vs. PC advertisements that pitted Apple devices against Windows-based machines.

Microsoft views its Scroogled ads as comparative, not negative, a perspective that I can’t share as I felt that Apple’s ‘comparative’ ads were comparatively negative, and slightly petty. I view the Scroogled ads in the same way.

That said, Microsoft is spending money to generate a certain impact, and its dollars do appear to be generating that result. In my conversations with Microsoft, I’ve heard the same note hit, that while you and I might not be in the target demographic for the advertisements, they do work among the folks that Microsoft is trying to reach.

Fine. This is the first time I’ve seen hard numbers, so I could previously only estimate the impact of the site and campaign. I doubt that all Scroogled ads generate the same favorability swing as the campaign’s website, but even if the result is one-third as great, Microsoft is likely content with it.

Bing from its first days has suffered from a reputation — deserved or not doesn’t matter here — as something less than an also-ran next to Google’s market-dominating search technology. The long-term way to end that perspective is to invest heavily in technology and build a product that evangelizes for itself through excellence. Microsoft is certainly pursuing that strategy, pumping money into Bing and integrating it as a service into its various platforms.

The faster way to change opinions is to trash the competition, calling their integrity and business practices — and even focus on children’s education — into doubt. And, as in politics, the negative advertising appears to be working.

And don’t think that this is too surprising. Microsoft said earlier this year that “Scroogled will go on as long as Google keeps Scroogling people.” Okay, sure, but Microsoft defines what “Scroogling” is, not Google, and I think that some of its advertisements are unfair in their portrayal of Google.

For example, the following ad says that Google “goes through” every line of every one of your emails, with human eyes superimposed over the screen, implying that Google is reading all of your email. It isn’t. It automatically scans them, which is different, but Microsoft makes the implication anyway.


So, who is really getting Scroogled? Google, for serving ads against your email, or the user, after Microsoft misdirects them?

Top Image Credit: Forest Runner