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Microsoft's Bing Issues Ad 'Manifesto'

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NEW YORK Microsoft positions Bing as the cure for digital information overload and search-results clutter in a campaign breaking today from JWT.

The first spot in an estimated $100 million ad push makes a point of calling Bing a "results engine," while employing narration and visuals designed to portray the new service as providing more directed and focused data for users.

The first commercial, "Manifesto," opens with quick cuts and multiple screens that symbolize the confusion created by the crowded arena of online search. Included are familiar scenes of the global economic meltdown and strong inferences that getting the wrong results (or too many) can contribute to such disasters.

Bing, of course, calms the high-tech storm, rescuing those "lost in the links" and potentially helping consumers live well and prosper.

JWT produced four TV executions, two of which were cut at different lengths. The campaign also includes a series of Web banner ads and social-media outreach.

Danielle Tiedt, Microsoft's general manager, online audience business group marketing, said: "We know from all the data we see from our customers that there is a lot of latent dissatisfaction in the search market. A big part of the challenge is to connect with that latent dissatisfaction."

She said the strategy behind the debut spot "is to introduce the problem and put a name on it: search overload syndrome. People say that when they have problems getting the answers they are looking for in their search experience, they blame it on themselves. You should expect better things from your search engine."

In terms of upcoming spots, Tiedt said: "Next week we start talking about, 'What if you had to talk to your partner or friend in the same way you would talk to your search engine?' That would be frustrating." WATCH MORE 'BING' SPOTS ON ADWEEK VIDEO

Needless to say, Microsoft faces a tough fight with Google firmly entrenched atop the search heap -- and the software giant's past forays into that market haven't made much of a dent in Google's dominance.

David Berkowitz, director of emerging media and client strategy at 360i, last week told Mediaweek during Bing's launch announcement that he was impressed with what he's seen of the product so far: "I'm still waiting for the full picture, but this is easily Microsoft's best search experience to date."

Still, Berkowitz is cautious to declare any firm competing against Google a winner too soon. "I'm wondering how much the average consumer is going to be able to tell this is something different," Berkowitz said. "The ads need to communicate that. If you look at the growth of Google, people only keep relying on it more. If it really stunk, Google wouldn't be in the position they're in."



(Can Bing make a dent in Microsoft's search dominance? Take Adweek.com's poll at right.)