Microsoft may have finally killed its "Scroogled" campaign

Microsoft's campaign against Google's products and privacy policies have used the "Scroogled" brand for well over a year. Now those efforts may finally be coming to an end. Comments made this weekend on an online forum by a Microsoft executive suggest that the company is closing the doors on the controversial marketing and advertising campaign.

According to ZDNet's Derrick Connell, the Corporate Vice President in charge of the Bing Experience team at Microsoft, hosted an AMA session on his Yabbly site over the weekend. It appears that all of his answers have since been deleted, but ZDNet did manage to reprint his response to a question regarding his own views of the Scroogled campaign.

According to Connell, the marketing effort was started as a way to "bring attention to some activities that we didn't like as a company." That has included attacks on Google for scanning email content on Gmail to generate ads, and how Google Shopping search results are influenced by paid ads.

Connell then wrote:

It is tricky as you want to raise awareness and do it in a fun way. I think we achieved that goal, and changed some policies, and we are now done with the campaign. Mostly I feel proud that we decided to do it regardless of how we might be perceived.

ZDNet contacted Microsoft for comment and received a very vague response back, stating:

We are always evaluating and evolving our marketing campaigns. There are times when we use our marketing to highlight differences in how we see the world compared to competitors, and the Scroogled campaign is an example of this. Moving forward, we will continue to use all the right approaches and tactics when and where they make sense.

It's important to note that Mark Penn, who launched the "Scroogled" campaign in late 2012 while he served as Microsoft's Corporate Vice President in charge of Strategic and Special Projects, is now working at the company's chief strategy officer. That means he no longer has any direct control over Microsoft's marketing and ad campaigns.

Source: ZDNet | Image via Microsoft

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35 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

I liked it. Truth always stings and that's why all fanboys of the competition were and still are trying their best to desperately suppress or deflect the valid criticism aimed at their favorite company's policies.

Given that they were guilty of the same things they were smearing google for, it's little surprise to see them back out once their hypocrisy gets exposed.

good, I'd rather Microsoft channel their efforts in to improving their products, rather than wasting time and energy slating their competitors, who didn't care anyway.

Not sure how anyone could have been "proud" of such an ill conceived smear campaign. For me, the only affect this had was to look less favourably on Microsoft.

Companies should concentrate on advertising the good things about their -own- service, instead of trying to smacktalk the competition.

It's a bit difficult to take the moral high ground when you're caught doing even worse, namely, manually sifting through user emails for evidence of IP leaks. Some might call that hypocritical.

Give me what they did any day over Google employees spying on user data without any legitimate reason whatsoever and even worse harassing kids.

It's one of the very first things you learn in sales training. You NEVER disparage the competition. It makes you look petty, and it only highlights that there IS competition! Microsoft didn't earn on red cent from this campaign, all they did was point out to customers that Microsoft is afraid of Google.

theyarecomingforyou said,
Exactly. When you can't compete legitimately you attack the competition.

Or if you're Apple you try to extort billions out of them with bogus patents on rounded off rectanges.

SharpGreen said,

Or if you're Apple you try to extort billions out of them with bogus patents on rounded off rectanges.

Completely off topic and irrelevant. I find it bothersome when someone can't say X is bad without someone jumping in to tell you how Y is doing...

Anyway, I do miss the days when Microsoft took the high road. They didn't need to say anything at all because the customers spoke for them really.

dead.cell said,

Completely off topic and irrelevant. I find it bothersome when someone can't say X is bad without someone jumping in to tell you how Y is doing...

Anyway, I do miss the days when Microsoft took the high road. They didn't need to say anything at all because the customers spoke for them really.


So you think people sharing differing opinions is tiresome? Speaking of irrelevant....

Also my comment was not even remotely irrelevant. What I said was perfectly relevant in the context of theyarecomingforyou's comment.

SharpGreen said,

So you think people sharing differing opinions is tiresome? Speaking of irrelevant....

Also my comment was not even remotely irrelevant. What I said was perfectly relevant in the context of theyarecomingforyou's comment.


Nope.

What everyone else said :p Seriously, MSFT needs to take a long hard look at how they `marketed` a lot of things in the past few years and not make the same mistakes.
If your products are good enough word of mouth soon does the job, helped by some innovative adds...

Good. Inaccurate, misleading, and really showed a bad side of MS.

So what about Mark Penn then? I know hes reassigned by why even keep him on. Waste IMO.

Edited by techbeck, Apr 14 2014, 10:21pm :

I don't think they really had that much market penetration. I mean, nerds who go to tech news sites every day, yea, they are familiar with Scroogled... I seriously doubt very many other people know it is/was a thing.

Overall... meh. I barely care enough to even write this sente

Astra.Xtreme said,
Good decision. Imo, this was a horrible campaign seeing as there was quite a bit of irony involving their "privacy" stabs.

Horrible? Depends.
True? Yes.

Dot Matrix said,

If you're talking about the French Blogger, then that was a separate case not even related to what Google does. In fact, Google just updated their TOS with the fact that they scan outgoing and incoming emails. http://twitter.com/thurrott/statuses/455838101454086144

And you think Microsoft doesn't? Why then does my Outlook account have an ads section which fills itself depending on the email I'm viewing?

It's no secret that Microsoft pulls the same privacy invasions that Google does. That's where the "irony" of that campaign came from.

Dot Matrix said,

If you're talking about the French Blogger, then that was a separate case not even related to what Google does. In fact, Google just updated their TOS with the fact that they scan outgoing and incoming emails. http://twitter.com/thurrott/statuses/455838101454086144

Actually it was entirely related. If you're prepared to snoop on someone's property because someone else leaked a couple of screenshots and you don't like it you really have no right to bellyache about other companies privacy policies. All this situation proved was:

1: Microsoft are massively hypocritical
2: Microsoft are not remotely committed to protecting people's privacy the moment something gets done that pees them off. It would be like saying that you value your partner's privacy then rationalise searching her phone by saying "I thought you were cheating on me".

I have no problem valuing others' privacy as long as they don't dare to steal from me, and no problems with MS or Google doing whatever's necessary to protect their trade secrets and taking thieves down. Unfortunately the latter's privacy violations aren't restricted to such situations...

Edited by Romero, Apr 16 2014, 3:37am :

Javik said,

Actually it was entirely related. If you're prepared to snoop on someone's property because someone else leaked a couple of screenshots and you don't like it you really have no right to bellyache about other companies privacy policies. All this situation proved was:

1: Microsoft are massively hypocritical
2: Microsoft are not remotely committed to protecting people's privacy the moment something gets done that pees them off. It would be like saying that you value your partner's privacy then rationalise searching her phone by saying "I thought you were cheating on me".


lol. Microsoft/Google or whatever have full right to scan your whole inbox when it comes to criminal activities.