Yahoo Marks Desperation With Large Ad Campaign


Yahoo, not wanting to be outdone by the ad spend of Microsoft or Ask, has decided to spend significantly offline reminding people that yes Yahoo still exists:

As its rivals create a bigger buzz on the Internet, Yahoo Inc. is hitting television and radio airwaves to remind people that its Web site remains on the cutting edge of technology and culture.

The advertising blitz, scheduled to begin Thursday, marks the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company's biggest marketing push in two years.

Besides buying TV and radio time, world's most popular Web site also will be spreading its messages in movie theaters across the United States.

If the ad campaign did not sound desperate enough, it doesn't help that the news article about it hosted on Yahoo states

"Instead of worrying about branding, Google is able to spend time and money on building better algorithms to help people find information and data," said Regis McKenna, who helped steer the marketing campaigns of high-tech Apple Computer Inc. and Intel Corp.

It has to hurt when news of your marketing campaign only reinforces the brand strength of competitors.

How is it possible that companies selling ads based on relevancy can't come up with more relevant or more creative ways to advertise their businesses?


To be fair

To be fair to Yahoo!, they did advertise heavily for years on TV and the radio and had success with it. I think they're in a much different position than MSN and Ask as they aren't strictly pushing a search engine. Yahoo! is a destination that offers more than any site on the web.

But it does mark some desperation. Yahoo! has gotten stale and sites like Myspace, Facebook, and so on have gotten major mainstream publicity over the last 2 years with their new technology and user base. The move seems more lateral than anything and looks to be a "don't forget about us" campaign to keep user awareness fresh. It will be hard to judge the success of such a campaign (much like any branding campaign) as simply maintaining marketshare and traffic levels could be seen as a success amongst an industry where new competition is around every corner.

I do take the quote from Regis McKenna with a grain of salt. Intel isn't exactly the best company to use as a success of your marketing prowess. They've arguably made moronic gaffes over the years (the re-naming of their products for one) that has allowed their once dominant hold on the chip market to actually be fairly competitive.

As for it allowing Google to spend more time on R & D, I just don't know how they are attached. I'd consider your marketing budget mutually exclusive from your development budget. If Yahoo! starts laying off engineers to run these ads, then it's a mistake, but otherwise I'm not seeing anything revolutionary from either company these days.

I guess I'm just not sold on bashing these companies for testing other medias and trying to attract different types of users. I think it's harder to switch someone from being an avid user of one search engine to another. With that said, perhaps these TV ads are a way to attract a less savvy internet audience who don't have a loyalty and will go online someday and type in the first name that pops in their head.

The time to spend money on

The time to spend money on advertising is when business is down. At least that is the general rule in the dirt-world so I don't see why it would not apply in the online world.

Yeh right...

Yahoo business is down??? Since when? it keeps going up, especially since their various acquisitions those past three years...
The truth is that Google has nothing to promote but endless beta products they can't even finish. This wanna be cool attitude doesn't work with the general public. As stated before Yahoo has a much larger range of services and, btw, remains the number one internet destination so... tv/radio ads are completly normal
This year, Yahoo has (re)design many websites should it be, Mail, Photos, Sports, Tech, Travel, Maps, Answers...those ads are completly logical...nothing like a weakness at all.

Smart move

and perfect timing. They will drown the current efforts by ASK and will own the high ground when Google eventually comes to the space. Google will be perceived as a follower.

Just an observation...

I watch a decent amount of TV and my impression is that Ask seems to be kicking ass with it's TV ad campains. The commercials are well made (almost viral in nature) and they are really well placed. I know that TV ad spending has been considered fruitless in the past but if Ask keeps going at this pace it seems like all the search engines (including Google) will be advertising on TV heavily pretty soon.

Okay. And let's not forget

Okay. And let's not forget that TV is how AOL did it; it sounded so grand: America Online. Whatever one may think of AOL, their television advertisements were and are dead on ... they make AOL membership sound so friendly and active.

Yahoo's stock is down about

Yahoo's stock is down about 10% today after announcing slowing ad sales. From the WSJ [sub req]

At an investor conference Tuesday, Yahoo executives said they have seen growth weaken in ads from automotive and financial services companies, adding that it's too early to tell if the slowdown will spill over into other areas.

Advertising from these key categories is "still very meaningful, Chief Executive Terry Semel told investors at a Goldman Sachs conference. "They're still growing but they're not growing as quickly as we might have hoped at this point in time."

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