Are Consumers Getting Scroogled?
Last week, Microsoft began selling t-shirts, caps, hoodies and coffee mugs in support of "Scroogled," its marketing campaign which bashes Google over privacy issues.
Launched last year with TV ads, a petition and a scroogle.com website, Scroogled focuses on the way Google scans consumers’ e-mails and searches only to use that information to target digital ads or shape web-search results. The campaign encourages consumers to switch to Outlook.com, Hotmail and/or Internet Explorer.
Available on the www.microsoftstore.com, a Scroogled logo t-shirt in Google-font urges wearers to show "the world that you’re tired of having your digital life monetized by Google." The back of the t-shirt reads, "Don’t Get Scroogled!"
Also available is a Chrome-themed "Keep calm while we steal your data" mug ($7.99), and an "I’m Watching You" t-shirt ($11.99), also playing up the Chrome logo.
Much of the product was already sold out by late last week with Microsoft and Google employees assumed to have quickly bought out the stock.
The tech world has largely ridiculed the Scroogled campaign since its launch as sophomoric and hypocritical while Google has called it "intellectually dishonest." But some believe the U.S. National Security Agency spying scandal and other revelations are making the public more concerned about personal privacy. At the least, some feel Google may have to do a better job detailing how they use their access to consumer information.
"What we’ve found is that this Scroogled campaign has struck a chord with consumers," a Microsoft spokesperson told Slate. "They really are concerned with the way Google treats them and their privacy. Hundreds of thousands of people have signed a petition, and millions have visited the website. The T-shirts and the mugs are just a way for people to express their concerns with Google in a different way, but sort of a fun way."
Poking fun at Microsoft’s lack of a Google Glass device, Google’s PR team offered a brief, cheeky response: "Microsoft’s latest venture comes as no surprise; competition in the wearables space really is heating up."
- Shop our Scroogled Products – Microsoft Store
- Microsoft Stocks Up on Anti-Google Merchandise – The Wall Street Journal (sub. required)
- Googlers Love Microsoft’s ‘Scroogled’ Gear. Mug and Shirts Sell Out – Forbes
- Google Is Amused by Microsoft’s Anti-Google T-Shirts – Slate
- Google puts down Microsoft for selling ‘Scroogled’ merchandise – Los Angeles Times (tiered sub.)
What do you think of Microsoft’s Scroogled campaign? Is Google starting to face a bigger backlash over privacy concerns? What’s the likelihood that privacy concerns will be increasingly addressed in marketing approaches?