By Harry McCracken | Wednesday, August 5, 2009 at 11:36 pm
I just this very moment formulated a new theory about search engines: It may be impossible to do good TV-style advertising for them. They’re free, you can try them at will, and if they’re not pretty self-explanatory, they’ve failed from the get-go. All of which makes it hard to spend thirty seconds saying anything useful about them.
With that in mind, my instinct is not to judge the user-generated Bing jingle video that won Microsoft’s contest too harshly. TechCrunch’s MG Siegler compares it to Hell; I just find it…odd. (Possibly intentionally so, and odd in a catchy way, at least.) And except for the fact that the lyrics wouldn’t scan, it could be about any other search engine on the planet, from Google to a tenth-stringer like Mamma.
(I’m not going to stoop for criticizing the ad for the fact that the queries shown, such as “Learn to dance like Jonathan,” don’t provide useful results in Bing or any other search engine.)
Also looking on the bright side: It’s nowhere near as odd and ineffective as years and years of Ask.com ads that cost that company way, way more money than the $500 that Microsoft paid its contest winner.
Another plus: Bing’s new singing, dancing spokesman doesn’t vomit onscreen.
(Full disclosure: Bing is an advertiser on this site, and I’m a contributor to the Bing-sponsored BingTweets.)