google_vs_microsoftThe tech world is full of some intense rivalries. The rivalry between Google and Microsoft has been ongoing for many years, and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. As Google continues to grow and encroach on Microsoft’s traditional territory with their Chrome operating system and cloud services, Microsoft has realized it needs to fight back in as many ways as possible. Products are now part of that fight.

Anti-Google Stuff for Microsoft Lovers (Or Google Haters)

It’s not every day that one sees a branding or advertising campaign from the likes of a company like Microsoft come along with products that people can buy as well. However, that’s exactly what Microsoft is doing with its latest iteration of the Scroogled campaign.

According to Trevor Mogg at Fox News, “Microsoft is now offering a selection of reasonably priced items on its online store,” items that directly attack Google. What exactly are these attacks addressing? A laundry list of negative connotations that it hopes to attach to Google’s brand and hopefully woo some users to Microsoft.

Microsoft is throwing words onto its products (which include mugs, shirts, and more) like “sold out,” “fleeced,” “scammed,” “conned,” “cheated” and much more. It’s essentially attacking Google for questionable practices with the tracking and data of its users. A fair attack, no doubt, as Microsoft is certainly perceived as having less of a control and reliance on the data of its users. But do users really care? And isn’t Microsoft guilty of the same?

Pot Calling the Kettle Black?

As Seth Rosenblatt at CNET reminds us, “There is irony in the utter lack of hubris from Microsoft’s claims. Microsoft…and most other major Internet tech firms treat[s] customer data similar if not identical to Google.” For savvy consumers (as many people are thanks to the internet), running a campaign like this doesn’t seem to be a way to pull consumers away from Google.

I can see these products simply reinforcing the brand loyalty that Microsoft has already created over the years. That’s not exactly what I think Microsoft should be doing as it competes with Google and Apple in a variety of areas where it holds a very low share of the market (think cell phones). I suppose, at the least, Microsoft will be able to make some money off of these products from anti-Google internet users and its pro-Microsoft fans.

Is it Worth the Effort?

For me this sort of advertising/branding campaign wouldn’t be what I would expect from a company in Microsoft’s situation. However, it’s probably just a drop in the bucket, and it does boost their brand loyalty. For small businesses and agencies, though, it might be wiser to think of a different approach to pull more consumers from your competitor.

In my opinion, the best course of action is to show why your products or services are better, cooler, more effective, and so on. The trick is to make sure you do it in a way that elicits curiosity, interest, pride, or offers something to the consumer that they didn’t realize they were missing. This is well understood by many people, but not always well-executed.

How do you brand your company or products compared to your competitors?