Sunday, April 26, 2009

Microsoft Search: Identity Crisis

Search MSN for Mini-Wheats

Last week I saw a TV commercial for Kellogg's Frosted Mini-Wheats with the call-to-action at the end of "Search MSN for Mini-Wheats." So, being the obedient consumer that I am, I fired up my browser to complete the task. The only problem was, I wasn't sure how to search MSN. You see, I had been programmed to think that Microsoft's search engine was And when I used the drop-down search box in Firefox to find MSN, all I saw was Live Search.

Why would Microsoft dilute its search brand by using MSN as the search call-to-action? Is this some sort of interim step until the new search engine (code name: Kumo) is ready? Kind of like how Cingular transitioned to AT&T by going from Cingular to "Cingular is now the new AT&T" to just AT&T, all in one season of American Idol. Even that's not a good analogy though -- it's more like if AT&T had reverted back to Bell South before moving forward as the new AT&T.

Let's just hope when Microsoft bows its upcoming $100mm ad campaign touting its new search engine, it picks one brand and sticks with it. And let's hope that brand is something meaningful (aka a good brand), not something amorphous (aka a bad brand) like Kumo.

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