Left Bay’s Musings on the Media

Searching for answers in sales and marketing

We’re still waiting for the elusive Algorithm.

The Algorithm is the most recent great success story of viral marketing. Ask is definitely getting something right if it’s getting the whole world in an upheaval over it. People in the search industry are buzzing over the assertive billboards, at first questioning their origins and are now eagerly waiting for more. Non-industry people are asking, “What the hell is an algorithm, and what does it have to do with Jesus and Ted Kaczynski?”

When the campaign first launched, quite secretly I might add, there was an immediate backlash of blog posts full of pictures, questions and speculations. I saw my first billboard driving down 101 a few weeks ago. “The algorithm killed Jeeves,” it read, and nothing else. After furrowing my brows for a minute, I decided it was a new ad by Google, attempting to reinforce its enormous shadow over the search industry. “But specifically attacking Ask.com? That’s uncharacteristic,” I thought briefly, and continued driving.

In the following weeks, a flood that grew to become more like a tsunami, swept through the search world. People thought the ads were bizarre, confusing, stupid, off-putting, smart, clever, vague; and then continued to blog and comment about it. We definitely know more now. We know Crispin Porter + Bogusky is behind it, Ask.com’s new-ish agency. We’ve seen all the other “Algorithm” billboards by now. We’ve seen the Google-attacking urinal ad. We’re waiting for more.

Why is it successful? It’s everywhere! People can’t not talk about it. The campaign screams curiosity. We want more. We want the rest of the story. Who is this algorithm, and what does that funny word mean?


No comments yet»

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: