Maybe Yahoo! and Microsoft would have been a good fit after all. Their advertising departments seem like they’d have meshed pretty well, at least. This month both companies have launched seemingly non-sensical ad campaigns that don’t really appear to be the necessary medicine to turn either company’s fortunes around (bearing in mind, of course, that Microsoft still has vast fortunes and makes cash hand over fist).
Microsoft’s wacky new ad campaign features Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld in mostly awkward situations that have nothing to do with Windows or Microsoft. It was roundly panned in the blogosphere (and according to my unscientific survey of friends over dinner the other night).
And today, TechCrunch noticed a new campaign from Yahoo! revolving around the color purple, which is the company’s official color (I guess). It’s a brand awareness campaign that includes purple-themed photos at a special Flickr account, purple improv comedy videos, a fleet of purple bikes, and, uh, other purple things.
The site is introduced by a video featuring the song “Start Wearing Purple,” by so-called Gypsy punk band Gogol Bordello.
As much as I like Gogol Bordello (I saw them in August when they came through my city and they put on a great show), it’s hard to see the point of this ad campaign. It probably didn’t cost much to put together, and it might serve to do some brand building, but is that really want Yahoo! needs? Are people really not using Yahoo!’s search engine because they’ve never heard of it? I don’t think so. As Mike Arrington says, Yahoo! might be wise to spend that marketing budget coming up with ways to convince people to actually use their services.
The strangest part of the site? The “Share This” button in the lower right hand corner features links to social media sites Delicious, Facebook, Digg, Reddit, MySpace, and StumbleUpon — but not Yahoo!’s own Buzz property. Perhaps this is an indication of what is wrong at Yahoo!: their own marketing efforts fail to promote their sites.
Anyway, for your enjoyment, here’s the music video for Gogol Bordello’s “Start Wearing Purple:”