Local search is quite an emotional experience at AT&T's YP.com

By David Kiefaber on Wed Sep 15 2010

AT&T is rebranding Yellowpages.com as YP.com, a hip, modern local search site for people too busy to read or type entire words. The telecom titan hired Butler, Shine, Stern and Partners to make some ads for them. "Click less. Live more" is the slogan they came up with, and the TV, print, outdoor and digital ads will explore the human side of Web searches. So far, the ads range from the obvious (Mom with a sick child looking up pharmacies) to the fairly inventive (a guy looking for auto parts to recapture a childhood memory), and the idea is to move beyond the "functional" side of local searching into the "emotional" side, according to AT&T advertising vp Erick Soderstrom. (In a bizarre Mr. Miyagi moment, Soderstrom adds that modern Web searching is "less about what you are trying to find as opposed to what are the resources you are looking for.") Check out a second spot after the jump.

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Microsoft's IE8 browser treats disorders you didn't know you had

Posted on Wed Jun 10 2009

You know that feeling you get that you're missing something on the Internet? If you could visualize it, it would look a lot like a pudgy Indian guy in a silver unitard. This mock PSA for Microsoft's Internet Explorer 8 browser warns that the condition known as F.O.M.S. ("Fear of Missing Something"), if left unchecked, can lead to bizarre, hallucinatory confrontations with just such a person, whose idea of a taunt is, "Oh no! You lost a bidding war on a decorative bowl!" A second parody introduces another disorder, S.H.Y.N.E.S.S. ("Sharing Heavily Yet Not Enough Sharing Still"), which the new browser can also treat. It shows a zaftig lady obsessed with forwarding LOLcat pics (every office has a woman like this), and is pretty realistic in depicting how such e-mails are received. "I hate you, Mary," says the recipient. Indiana agency Bradley and Montgomery did the spots. They also star Dean Cain, who displays Airplane-esque deadpanning ability. Who knew he was funny? Who knew Microsoft was funny?

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Please don't use the word 'search' around Microsoft and Yahoo!

Posted on Mon Jun 1 2009

Search copy

Every so often, marketing flushes out an apt, descriptive word for corporate blather. Before there were one-time-use cameras, for instance, we called them disposables. Used cars gave way to pre-owned, and so forth. The latest word that seems to be marked for extinction is "search," which is being targeted by companies that make what used to be called search engines. Both Yahoo! and Microsoft seemed to have decided last week that they no longer like the term. First, Yahoo! CEO Carol Bartz told CNBC's Jim Goldman that Yahoo! is a lot of things, but "just because we're on the Internet does not mean we're a search company. We are much broader than a search company." Not to be outdone, Microsoft unveiled its latest product, Bing, which it dubbed a "decision engine" that's "the first step in moving beyond search to help make faster, more informed decisions," according to a press release. For its part, Google doesn't stray from the s-word in its company overview. ("Google's founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin developed a new approach to online search ...") But then again, who uses the term "search engine" anyway? Most people just say Google.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Why Microsoft chose 'Bing' as the name of its new search engine

Posted on Thu May 28 2009

Bing

So ... Bing. Why did Microsoft decide to rename its search engine after a Friends character? It turns out the company worked with Interbrand to come up with Bing, which is meant to evoke the "aha" moment of finding what you're looking for. (So, why not Aha then?) Other candidates were said to include Sift and Kumo. "We looked a name that was short, easily recognizable, we could own it. Something that was easy to type into the search box," says Danielle Tiedt, general manager for online audience business group marketing at Microsoft. It's also catchier than Microsoft's previous search-engine name, Windows Live, which sounded like a version of Ice Capades featuring Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer. Of course, Microsoft provides a big fat target for critics. TechCrunch, which got a sneak peek at the logo earlier this week in the form of a favicon (which Microsoft soon took down), compared it to the Cleveland Cavaliers uniforms from the '90s. At Google's I/O event, meanwhile, co-founder Sergey Brin declined to comment directly on Bing, but noted that "we're pretty happy" with the name Google.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

YouTube beginning to really be infested by Google Chrome ads

Posted on Tue Feb 3 2009

Chrome-on-YouTube copy

Google is so eager to get people to download its new Chrome Web browser that it's been busy planting ads for the software everywhere on YouTube—and not in a subtle way, either.
  Ironically, Google says Chrome "combines a minimal design with sophisticated technology." But when advertising it on YouTube, Google uses the maximum space any banner ad should take up in a video, with a very intrusive "Download" button. And if you miss the in-video ads (which is not easy to do), it's also flogged on the YouTube homepage. According to reports, Google is gearing up to release a version of Chrome for Mac OS X and Linux, since it's currently available only for Windows. And what better way to get millions of consumers to notice the browser than to hype it up on one of the biggest social networks around (which Google also happens to own)?

—Posted by Elena Malykhina


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