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  • Writer's pictureJeff Matthews

Even Worse than the Dilbert-Dinosaurs

Well at least Microsoft got rid of the dinosaur-people.

You may recall that hallucinogenic Microsoft Office ad campaign involving office workers wearing dinosaur heads. If you don’t, I am not making this up: somebody at Microsoft decided it would be a good idea to run expensive color ads in major newspapers showing men and women in Dilbert-style office situations wearing dinosaur heads and fretting about problems they have encountered owing to the fact that they haven’t upgraded to the latest version of Microsoft Office.

Sample copy:

Dinosaur 1: “Where’s Dave?” Dinosaur 2: “Dave’s in Cincinnati.” Dinosaur 1: “But Dave was supposed to compile the data.” A third dinosaur sticks his head into the conference room. “Five minutes to showtime guys. Good luck.” When the female boss dinosaur walks in and says “OK, let’s get started,” the Dilbert-Dinosaurs think, in little cartoon bubbles, “We’re doomed.” The basic lesson we are supposed to learn, as I see it, is that the dinosaurs died off from the face of the earth millions of years ago in a violent cataclysm of sudden death when they refused to shell out hundreds of dollars each for a buggy, late-to-market, over-engineered Microsoft product.

And now it appears that the same advertising agency which created the Dilbert-Dinosaur campaign has come up with an even better way to drive away Microsoft customers.

“SHE FOUND YOUR FURNITURE AD ON GOOGLE,” reads the headline in yesterday’s full-page color ad, above a picture of a satisfied looking little girl leaning on a large doll-house.

My first thought was, “I didn’t know Google was taking out expensive, full-page color ads just to tout their search engine.” My second thought was, “Business must be tough for Google.”

However, in cute green type below the huge headline is copy which clarifies that this is not a Google ad—it is a Microsoft ad for “Microsoft adCenter, a new search marketing engine,” which “offers a customer conversion rate that is 57% higher than Google and 48% higher than Yahoo!” The girl with the dollhouse, we are led to believe, is a typical Google search customer, who never actually intends to buy when she—in the parlance of search—clicks through the ads that appear alongside her searches.

But I suspect most people will not get to the cute green copy. They’ll see the headline and they’ll think, as I did, that Google must be the way to sell any kind of furniture, even if it’s for your dollhouse.

The old saw goes that any publicity—even negative publicity—is good. With Microsoft putting up headlines like that, I suspect for Google it’s even better.

Jeff Matthews I Am Not Making This Up

© 2006 Jeff Matthews

The content contained in this blog represents the opinions of Mr. Matthews. Mr. Matthews also acts as an advisor and clients advised by Mr. Matthews may hold either long or short positions in securities of various companies discussed in the blog based upon Mr. Matthews’ recommendations. This commentary in no way constitutes a solicitation of business or investment advice. It is intended solely for the entertainment of the reader, and the author.

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