Despite criticism from certain quarters, Microsoft isn’t giving up on its Scroogled campaign. In fact, the software giant is now rolling out merchandise that picks on rival Google’s privacy practices.
Rather than being a Scrooge this holiday shopping season, Redmond is inviting you to shop its Scroogled store for what someone in the company viewed as a witty idea. A branded webpage features a black widow spider with the Google Chrome logo colors in the center of its body.
Scroogled products span mugs, hats, T-shirts and even hoodies ranging in price from $7.99 to $25.99. Microsoft is peddling a mug donning a Google brand mark that says, “Keep Calm while we steal your data” for $7.00. Meanwhile, the “Scroogled Word Cloud T-shirt” offers more than 20 synonyms for how Google is supposedly taking advantage of you. That sells for $11.99.
Microsoft’s Me Too
We caught up with branding guru Rob Frankel to get his take on the new merchandise line up. He told us Microsoft doesn’t have the brand persona that lines up with this type of humor-based campaign. As he sees it, Microsoft has never really had a brand persona at all.
“Everything sort of looks like a clumsy, pathetic second-to-market me-too attempt. You see this over and over again,” Frankel said. “Apple had Steve Jobs, who was a charismatic leader in front of developers. Microsoft had Steve Ballmer dancing around on the stage just sweating -- and everything is like that. Microsoft is always second to market. Apple comes out with iPad. Microsoft comes out with a Surface.”
Frankel said Microsoft has been successful because, much like Coca-Cola, the company has aggressive sales tactics. By contrast, consumers are paying even higher prices for Apple T-shirts with nothing more than the brand logo.
Is it Funny?
“To this day, Microsoft doesn’t command huge loyalty among users. If you can offer somebody a lower cost alternative to a Microsoft technology they are just as likely to take it as not. Whereas other brands, not so much,” Frankel said. “And Microsoft, because it has never had any personality or brand strategy has never been known for having any kind of sense of humor.”
This is not the first time Microsoft has aimed at Google. The company also has its Bing It On challenge, which it has marketed in the United States and United Kingdom. That hasn’t put Bing over the top or even driven noticeable market share.
One thing Microsoft has done right, Frankel said, is its Surface advertising that targets Apple’s iPad using Siri’s voice. “Microsoft got smart in their advertising with Siri talking about the side by side comparison between iPad and Surface,” Frankel said. “The commercial shows Siri starting to panic because the iPad can’t do some of the things that the Surface does. That’s where Microsoft should be.”