Yahoo! Taps Its Inner Gypsy

By Josh Catone

Maybe Yahoo! and Microsoft would have been a good fit after all. Their advertising departments seem like they’d have meshed pretty well, at least. This month both companies have launched seemingly non-sensical ad campaigns that don’t really appear to be the necessary medicine to turn either company’s fortunes around (bearing in mind, of course, that Microsoft still has vast fortunes and makes cash hand over fist).

Microsoft’s wacky new ad campaign features Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld in mostly awkward situations that have nothing to do with Windows or Microsoft. It was roundly panned in the blogosphere (and according to my unscientific survey of friends over dinner the other night).

And today, TechCrunch noticed a new campaign from Yahoo! revolving around the color purple, which is the company’s official color (I guess). It’s a brand awareness campaign that includes purple-themed photos at a special Flickr account, purple improv comedy videos, a fleet of purple bikes, and, uh, other purple things.

The site is introduced by a video featuring the song “Start Wearing Purple,” by so-called Gypsy punk band Gogol Bordello.

As much as I like Gogol Bordello (I saw them in August when they came through my city and they put on a great show), it’s hard to see the point of this ad campaign. It probably didn’t cost much to put together, and it might serve to do some brand building, but is that really want Yahoo! needs? Are people really not using Yahoo!’s search engine because they’ve never heard of it? I don’t think so. As Mike Arrington says, Yahoo! might be wise to spend that marketing budget coming up with ways to convince people to actually use their services.

The strangest part of the site? The “Share This” button in the lower right hand corner features links to social media sites Delicious, Facebook, Digg, Reddit, MySpace, and StumbleUpon — but not Yahoo!’s own Buzz property. Perhaps this is an indication of what is wrong at Yahoo!: their own marketing efforts fail to promote their sites.

Anyway, for your enjoyment, here’s the music video for Gogol Bordello’s “Start Wearing Purple:”

  • Nytstyck

    I think it was last year that Cadbury sued a chocolate company in australia for using the colour purple. yahoo better be careful.
    And that song would be more appropriate for (and firstly made me think of) getting purple gear in World of Warcraft.
    This song, and the seinfeld ads remind me of the commonwealth bank series of ads that weren’t really relevant to the product/service (though the michael bay esque director in those was amusing).

  • Richard

    There’s nothing wrong with Yahoo mate. Google and Yahoo are the 2 most popular search engines, followed by Microsoft. The way I see it, you are just throwing bottles behind a small crowd of people that are criticising Yahoo because they were made redundant. Don’t get into politics Josh, SitePoint users are not ex-Yahoo employees. It’s not a good thing to follow the crow without knowing where they are going.

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