Marketing Playbook: Microsoft’s Negative PR Attack Against Google


The Microsoft marketing playbook isn’t known for being out of the ordinary. This is changing, however. Recently, the company started promoting anti-Google products in the Microsoft store through a product line called Scroogled.

Microsoft is selling everything from hats and t-shirts to these “Don’t Get Scroogled” mugs in an attempt at a negative PR attack that brands Google as a privacy crook who steals its customers private data for a profit.

Many of the products play-on the popular internet “Keep Calm” meme with products featuring the Google Chrome logo and the statement “Keep Calm While We Steal Your Data.”

Microsoft further questions in one t-shirt’s product description:

Are you being Scroogled?

Breathe in, breathe out. It won’t be long before Google has attempted to make money off of every aspect of your digital life. This t-shirt lets them know that you know. It’s 50% cotton, 50% polyester blend, and pre-laundered for minimal shrinkage.

Microsoft itself was the victim of a Negative PR attack from Apple back in the Steve Jobs era.  Although the mud slinging was not as harsh as this.  I’m sure you remember the famous Apple Vs. PC television commercials.  So it’s not necessarily a surprise that Microsoft is using a similar play against Google.

A negative PR attack like this initiated by a Fortune 100 brand isn’t too common so I expect it to get plenty of buzz across the net.  I’m very curious to see if and how Google responds.

What do you think?  Would you attempt a campaign like this against one of your competitors? Would you respond if you were in Google’s shoes?

If You’re Not Early, You’re Late

This is what I was told as a freshman at West Point…

If you’re not early, you’re late.

To this day I hate being late, and don’t like being on time, as I prefer to always be about 5 to 10 minutes early.

Last night, I thought about this quote as a metaphor for a different context: expectations.

If you don’t exceed expectations, you won’t meet expectations.

My Georgia Aquarium Halloween Experience

Yesterday, my wife and I took our children to the Georgia Aquarium for Halloween.   Of course the Georgia Aquarium was nice; the sea creatures were a beautiful spectacle.  But we didn’t necessarily go for the fish.

We went because it was Halloween and we wanted to take our kids to a safe place to enjoy the Halloween festivities. The Georgia Aquarium website marketing made the case for it being the ideal family Halloween experience, and we bought it…hook, line, and sinker…

The Halloween part of the experience was just okay (possibly less than okay). My wife and I both thought that it wasn’t quite festive enough.  In hindsight, based on the cost of entry for the Georgia Aquarium, I would say the experience was disappointing.

We weren’t disappointed because we didn’t get what we expected, we were disappointed because we only got what we expected. They checked all the boxes, that’s it.  A little this, a little that, nothing more.

This type of thinking may apply to items perceived as pricey more than anything else. It may be a bit of a drag to know you can meet your customer’s expectations and still disappoint them. But this feeling is real nonetheless.