It's been over a year since Microsoft began its "Scroogled" advertising campaign, attacking Google's stance on privacy on several fronts, including the Gmail service. Today, the regulator in change of advertising practices in the UK gave its thumbs-up to a Microsoft "Scroogled" radio ad despite formal complaints.
The Advertising Standards Authority stated today that the group got two complaints about the message, which begins with a character speaking some words in Pig Latin. Another person then says, "Pig Latin may be hard to understand, but you probably need it if you use Gmail, because Gmail scans every word of your e-mails to sell ads. But Outlook.com doesn't." The two complaints claimed that Microsoft also scans all Outlook.com emails.
In their decision, the ASA said that Microsoft's Outlook.com does scan all of its emails, but just for the purposes of finding any viruses or spam, rather than for ad generation as Google's Gmail does. It stated:
They (Microsoft) explained that this protective scanning was not mentioned in the ad because, unlike scanning to target advertising, scanning for viruses and spam was standard practice of which consumers were likely to be aware. Therefore, they considered that omission of this practice in the ad did not render it misleading.
The decision clears the way for the ad to continue its run in the UK so you may be hearing some Pig Latin coming from your car radio in that country soon.