With Yahoo spending on its search launch last year, MSFT reportedly going well into nine (yes, nine) figures on its MSN Search marketing campaign all this year, and now Ask getting into the ring, the search branding wars have begun. The question is, does it at all matter?
I certainly understand the desire to frame and catalyze your brand with television, it’s quite a good medium for that. And Ask certainly suffers from a long hangover from its last marketing push, back in that bubble era, when it made far more promises than it could keep.
But somehow television feels so – hopeless. I doubt this is going to move the needle. What will? Grassoots buzz, the kind that began to build with the acquisition of Teoma, then Bloglines, and might continue should Ask keep up those kinds of moves, and succeed in some kind of integration play that yields superior online services. Ask’s recent flirtations with the open source world is also interesting. In any case, it can never outspend Microsoft, which of all the companies in this space just might bull its way into the consumer’s mind with the blunt instrument of a TV marketing spend. I’m not saying Ask is wasting its money (well, maybe I am). In the end, as good as those Chiat Day ads might be, the money might better be spent on the product itself.