Scare Tactics?

Microsoft’s scare tactic ad against Google

When was the last time you actually read one of those “Terms and Conditions” or “Agreement” forms that pops up as a temporary yield sign on your way to getting what you want? Almost everyone blindly clicks “accept” to avoid the hassle of reading the mumbo-jumbo; yet the very legal content often tells you that what you’re agreeing to is the sharing, selling or usage of your information. We all know this (or at least choose to ignore it), and click merrily on, glad to breeze past the nuisance that’s preventing our immediate satisfaction.

“Our private information is only as private as our level of inconvenience.” – Anthony Coppedge

Most of us readily give away vast amounts of personalized information by signing up for giveaways, contests or linking apps, games and other tools to online social media accounts. When we want something or deem something to be worth giving access, the risk is that bits and parts of our information are subject to being traded, sold or abused.

We know all of this, so imagine my surprise at Microsoft’s new “Scroogled” (you’re ‘screwed’ by Google) ad campaign, which uses scare tactics to point out that Google’s email program (Gmail) uses information in your emails and from your online browsing to target ads at you. Are we supposed to be shocked that targeted advertising uses information we gladly (or at least impatiently) gave away?

Microsoft is trying hard to make Bing, their competing search engine, play catch-up with the Google search juggernaut. But resorting to scare tactics? It seems a desperate move.

Here’s the question for your organization: Are you promoting your value proposition – that which makes you unique even amidst similar organizations – or relying on pointing out the other guys failures? Either what you’re about and what you do and what you offer is of value or it isn’t. Stand on what you’re all about and don’t budge. People will either choose to believe what you believe or not – regardless of what you say about the other organizations. Don’t play the Scroogle game. Be the very best version of your organization you can be.



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