Microsoft’s “Scroogled” campaign just the beginning, kitchen sink on the way

Microsoft’s “Scroogled” campaign just the beginning, kitchen sink on the way
While it was probably part of the big plan from the beginning, Microsoft is likely to turn up the heat on Google as it campaigns on all fronts, and keeps hitting at Google’s strength which is search.

There is a man behind the scenes pushing this campaign, and he is not some Madison Avenue type from New York. Mark Penn is his name, and his background is in political polling, campaigning and analyzing data to the nth-degree. Mr. Penn gained notoriety in Washington, DC circuits by organizing destructive efforts against enemies of Bill and Hillary Clinton. He was instrumental in President Clinton’s re-election campaign in 1996. Very few political relationships last for any long period of time, and in the lens of that reality, Penn’s strategy is not for everyone.

The “Scroogled” campaign is only one piece of the strategy, but it is the most overt swing at Google search and its shopping service.  Penn is also behind the blind side-by-side comparisons that have popped up, challenging people to pick the best search for them.

How does a political operative translate to a marketing campaign? Quite well actually. Penn was made head of Microsoft’s “strategic and special projects” in August and his goal is to trip up Google at every opportunity. When those opportunities arise, the plan is then to exploit those potential gaffes by way of a flame-throwing commercial in mere hours. It gives Microsoft a political nimbleness that is not often seen in such strategic efforts like the one underway now, Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, unified experience, search, and up soon will be the next Office.

Microsoft stands to gain from inquiring minds of the US and European Union governments who have been scrutinizing Google’s privacy policies and business practices, which could lead to action against Google. However, Microsoft is not waiting for a train that may not come, and that is Mark Penn’s focus. From the looks of things, he is just getting warmed up, “Google should be prepared for everything but the kitchen sink thrown at them,” according to a former colleague from Penn’s political days, “Actually, they should be prepared for the kitchen sink to be thrown at them, too.”

This effort reinforces what we ostensibly knew was coming from Microsoft. Bill Gates said it himself, “People will be pretty amazed about the energy Microsoft’s putting behind this new wave of products.”  That includes the marketing behind these new products. Love it or hate it, Microsoft is pulling out all the stops.

“The concept is to create a SWAT team to work with the product teams on some of their toughest problems,” said Mr. Penn in talking about the small organization he has put together, which consists of fewer than a dozen people, most of whom live in Washington, DC. Given the nature of what Penn is trying to accomplish, many of these team members are former political allies that know the nuances of operating a rhetorical flamethrower.

The first fruit of this fast moving team is the “Scroogled” campaign which was pieced together very quickly after Google made changes to its search results in its shopping service. They followed a political model which involved polling and quick production of a response to get the message out to users and potential customers.

Microsoft has played hardball before, notably going after Gmail. A company spokesman did admit however that Microsoft did not do too well challenging those “Get a Mac” commercials that Apple ran. As Bill Gates said though, there is a new energy to drive these new products and services, and Mark Penn is part of that drive.

To Microsoft’s credit, the company does not need to outright topple Google in a blitz of ads and campaigns. All Microsoft needs is to plant a seed of doubt, and results will root from there. If that requires a kitchen sink, we are sure that Microsoft has more than one.

sources: The New York Times via Neowin
photo: The New York Times

Story timeline



73. gwuhua1984

Posts: 1237; Member since: Mar 06, 2012

This is the type of advertising I despise... You can't do anything better than pointing fingers? MS loses my respect from a campaign like this.

63. phillie1230

Posts: 2; Member since: Dec 16, 2012

Ok based on the comments I've read from everybody on this article. Both Microsoft & Google have their pros and cons, Google plants alot of cookies into your PC when using their search engine, to advertise, track what you do and monitor your life, So does Microsoft but not as much. And then Microsoft Is a big copycat, and that they have no innovative ideas. Clearly Microsoft and Google are both wonderful companies, its just based on whoevers preference to choose otherwise. Also Their is a lot of people that dislike Microsoft here, and to them, please research before you post something about Microsft because you sound like a dumce posting stuff that you clearly dont know. Same with the few people that dont like Google. Do your research.

60. zackh121556

Posts: 133; Member since: Feb 01, 2012

Microsoft must have not heard what Google already said about Apple. "We done look at our competitors because thats not looking at the future! We look at the future and thats how we became the leader."

53. techspace

Posts: 1037; Member since: Sep 03, 2012

i don't know what will happen to google, but this guy will burn the fanboys, i am sure that the fanboys are more concerned than google.....

52. Aeires unregistered

Push too hard and people turn on you, especially when you're attacking something they love.

51. sats.mine2k4

Posts: 208; Member since: Aug 10, 2012

In Chinese Bing means "disease", if MS tries to take on Google Search it will soon be diseased...

46. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

You can protect your privacy better while using Chrome or Firefox than you can when using ironic...

57. Zero0

Posts: 592; Member since: Jul 05, 2012

Unlikely. Chrome is notoriously terrible for privacy out of the box. It took them ages to get Do Not Track (and the implementation is not as good as it should be). Stock, it also sends all keystrokes in the omnibar to Google for recommendations. With a few settings tweaked and a couple of extensions, privacy improves, but most people don't know about it. IE isn't that bad now. From what I've read, its privacy features are supposed to be excellent.

61. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

I am just happy their are other options available other than IE. If there is a way to uninstall it completely without breaking windows functionality i would do it.

75. Zero0

Posts: 592; Member since: Jul 05, 2012

Oh definitely. I don't use IE. I barely use Windows, actually. But the days where IE was a terrible browser, insecure, slow, and non-standards compliant are over. Non-standards compliant, still, but every browser is nowadays. (IE is the worst, I think.) It's a contender now. I don't think it's the best, but IE9 and 10 are more than usable.

45. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

Euros are not big fans of Microsoft...

55. rusticguy

Posts: 2828; Member since: Aug 11, 2012

Yea and they forced M$ not to pre install IE on doz else face 1 billion dollar damages. Eu isn't a fan of Oracle either :)

41. mhiharis

Posts: 15; Member since: Apr 27, 2012

F___K Microsoft, Google & Apple companies, they r playing with us with the people who let them count the bonus & revenue at the end of each year. They don't have time for us, how we like or what we want. They just know and believe how to make money more more & more. Unfortunately we love gadget and new technology and we want to see all gather in the same place to make our daily life up-to-date with friends, family & in Business.

35. rusticguy

Posts: 2828; Member since: Aug 11, 2012

Restorting to such stupid strategy to me means their products are sub standard so not worth considering also. Products & Services may not be bad but it makes them look bad with these crap. Once Bill Gates said in interview (In India) that Google is in honeymoon period. Perhaps they are now pissed that this honeymoon is not ending soon. They may do all "bing bang" but today search is synonymous with "GOOGLE" and M$ has a long history of being recognised as "EVIL EMPIRE".

36. rusticguy

Posts: 2828; Member since: Aug 11, 2012


33. Edmund

Posts: 656; Member since: Jul 13, 2012

When you're passionate about something, the product sells itself.

31. rex1213

Posts: 77; Member since: Jul 29, 2011

Because that is Microsoft as we know them. Bullying Apple, bullying Google, bullying just about everyone in the market to get its products noticed and eventually become dominant in that space. Even if you look back in the past, history dictates the same. But don't get me wrong though. Their new products are good (WP8, Windows 8). It's just that, I don't think there still is a need to pull some dirty tactics considering their products now are FINALLY competitive.

34. Edmund

Posts: 656; Member since: Jul 13, 2012

Educating consumers is a dirty tactic ??? Since when

76. rex1213

Posts: 77; Member since: Jul 29, 2011

Educating consumers is one thing. Scaremongering is another. I never said that I am against Microsoft's marketing campaign by showing the public how good their products are. It's just that, the way it's done is dirty. You know you can always promote your own product without directly discrediting your competitor.

26. Shino

Posts: 196; Member since: Jul 23, 2012

Basically every Microsoft product now is better than any Google's one. WinPhone, Windows, Bing, Hotmail. They just need better marketing.

32. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Good! Keep telling yourself that. We are idiot not to choose M$ over google. We like to pay xbox 360 gold membership in order to have multi player option which are free over at PS3 and PC. M$ is a rotten brand and enough people are burnt to stay away from them.

68. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

I still use Hotmail for nostalgia reasons and being lazy. GMail is better, faster. Just no.

17. kdealltheway

Posts: 94; Member since: Oct 21, 2012

Obsolete marketing.

16. ReddD

Posts: 37; Member since: Oct 29, 2012

MS go and fire this Penn guy, like he should have been after the #Droidrage failure, and use the money on getting a better design team. Then you will see a turn around.

12. RapidCat

Posts: 351; Member since: Jun 12, 2012

they both is same selling ads. no winner here

15. tedkord

Posts: 17525; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

The winner is the consumer. Selling those ads means we no longer have to pay for a nearly unlimited email account. We get a myriad of free services and apps. Same principal as network TV or radio.

9. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2572; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

Whether you like it or not, Google has become a household word. You don't hear really anyone say "let me Bing that". It would take a massive push by Microsoft to get people to not only change where they do their searches or shopping on, but also become an everyday word that people will use. I mean honestly, how many people think to type in "" into their URL? I know I rarely think about it. Typing in "" has become so ingrained into my mind that I don't even think about it, I just do it.

10. XPERIA-KNIGHT unregistered

exactly......its what you expect to do when you use the internet....plain and simple. Its an everyday thing.

37. Edmund

Posts: 656; Member since: Jul 13, 2012

BS. Google became popular because it got away with s**t that Microsoft couldn't; For example, automatically appearing (upon installation) on the start page of third party browsers like Firefox, Chrome, and Opera.

7. Rocksteady unregistered

Microsoft, Stop acting like a silly spoiled child, haven't you learned the lesson from apple's history?! and mark penn, stop poking Google, or they will poke you back,, right in your fat a*s.

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