Ask Jeeves Launches TV Campaign

NEW YORK Ask Jeeves said it would return to television advertising with a campaign designed to build consumer awareness of its Internet search engine.

The campaign, created by TBWA\Chiat\Day in San Francisco, is a mixture of national, syndication, prime-time and cable advertising, which will complement online, print and outdoor ads. The push is Ask Jeeves first foray into TV advertising in four years.

“It’s something we’re very proud of because we’re very confident in our search engine,” said Greg Ott, vice president of marketing at Ask Jeeves.

Ott declined to reveal planned spending, but acknowledged the Ask Jeeves campaign would be “more targeted” than the estimated $150 million ad effort Microsoft began to back the new MSN search engine.

The ads present Ask Jeeves as an authoritative source of information. The six 15-second TV commercials feature so-called experts, including the off-key former American Idol contestant William Hung, asked to provide information outside their areas of expertise. Ask Jeeves is introduced as a better alternative. The tagline is: “Ask Jeeves. And get what you’re searching for.”

Ask Jeeves receives less than 6 percent of all Internet searches, according to ComScore Media Metrix. Ott said the ads are meant to close the gap by reintroducing Ask Jeeves to heavy Internet users now that the Oakland, Calif., search company has refined its Teoma search technology over the past two years to the point where it is now on par with more popular search engines.

“What we don’t have today is top of mind awareness,” he said. “When people are going online [to search], they think Google.”