What Has Search Overload Done to Us?

Whoa, the fourth Bing commercial is simply outstanding. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer shouldn’t feel bad about approving that $80 million to $100 million marketing budget. He’s getting good value for the money spent.

Once again, the marketing goes after the keywords, as I said that it should. But it’s a barrage of keywords. The 60-second spot features bunches of people asking questions to other people, who stiffen and then give robotic answers. Sometimes there is no question.

The TV spot opens with two women dining at a cafe. One remarks, “We really need to find a new place for breakfast.” To which the other responds: “The Breakfast Club. A 1986 cult classic starring members of the Brat Pack.” Watch for the airport security guard’s bird of paradise “ka ka ka ka” imitation. Classic.

Good advertising uses familiar motifs, scenarios and situations, stuff that most anyone can relate to. Familiarity is important. Who can’t relate to information overload? To too much needless information coming too fast to process?

“What’s causing my back pain?” A woman asks at a doctor’s office, for the second time. To which the nurse receptionist responds: “Bring the Pain,” which is a song by Method Man.

The Bing commercial rightly asks: “What has search overload done to us? Find the cure at Bing.com.” I love it. For years, I’ve beat Microsoft aside the ahead for bad marketing. It’s refreshing to offer praise.

Speaking of good advertising, I’m digging the first Palm Pre commercial, too. Someone gets it—that the smartphone isn’t just for guy gadget geeks. The Pre’s small size, ovally shape and pretty user interface has woman appeal.

For years, gadget designers overlooked women—a big, big shortcoming. No more. For example, Canon and particularly Nikon are producing smaller digital SLR cameras with women in mind. Studies show that in men-women households, she is more likely to be the keeper of memories, the one taking the photos. So dSLR manufacturers are producing models that fit into women’s typically smaller hands.

Over the last 24 hours, a slew of Palm Pre reviews posted (the smartphone goes on sale Saturday). Are any of the reviews by women? None that I’ve seen. But this touchscreen phone should appeal to the woman’s touch. The Pre’s physical size, shape and tiny keyboard—like the first commercial—have feminine appeal. Say, BRG, maybe it’s time for a Girl Genius Report.

Editor’s Note March 29, 2014: Microsoft removed original video, which is replaced from another source.