The WSJ (sub req’d) has an interesting article, complete with video, that discusses the “controversial” anti-Google marketing campaign IAC/Ask has launched in the UK:
The goal of the campaign is to convince consumers that Google’s success — it is used for 75% of all Internet searches in the United Kingdom — is unhealthy because it limits the sources for getting information from the Internet.
The ads illustrate how newer, edgier marketing techniques can backfire. Much of the Ask.com campaign relies on hiding the fact that it is advertising and that it is promoting Ask.com. Some Internet users have reacted angrily, saying they’ve been duped.
The Fallon Worldwide agency, a unit of Publicis Groupe SA, based in Paris, created a tongue-in-cheek story about a pretend revolutionary movement mobilizing the British public to rebel against what it calls the “establishment” Google. Television and radio spots, outdoor ads, street stunts, and, of course, a Web site, are designed to look like messages from the underground movement. The campaign doesn’t include newspaper advertising, because that’s something a corporation would do, an Ask.com spokesman says.
I like this line: “The campaign doesn’t include newspaper advertising, because that’s something a corporation would do…”
Ask’s “non-disclosure creative” may have backfired for many but the campaign has struck a nerve and is interesting to me because it gets away from the fruitless “our algorithm is better” messaging that is destined to fail as a competitive tactic.
Danny Sullivan has more, plus embedded video of the TV commercials (scroll).