Left Bay’s Musings on the Media

Searching for answers in sales and marketing

Chicks With Swords: An Ask.com Update

I originally wrote that audiences were “waiting for more” of the Ask campaign, and that we “can’t not talk about it” and “want the rest of the story.”

Well, we got more, and are (still!) furrowing our brows.

The latest ad from Ask.com has aired in due time for the launch of Ask 3D (which, weird advertising aside, is actually pretty cool. The ad features a thirtysomething, run-of-the-mill business guy getting what he’s looking for, which in this case is chicks with swords.

The concept is simple enough: A guy found what he was looking for with Ask.com. The execution, however, is not as easily understood. First of all, I don’t understand the big stage production. I think it worked well for Goodby’s eBay campaign, when it hadn’t been done as humorously before, and that this Ask ad is a blatant rip-off. The eBay ads at least put the stage show into some sort of context that viewers could identify with. Our Ask.com guy? He’s relishing out some sexual fantasy after a “chicks with swords” search on the internet by singing on stage? Jordan McCollum of Marketing Pilgrim notes CP+B’s historical “ubermale” portrayal. So, am I now supposed to equate business dudes searching for weird sex fetishes with Ask.com? Is the next commercial going to be a different guy singing “I got what I was looking for” in front of equestrienne line dancers? Maybe I don’t get it because I’m not a guy, nor do I have a Babes With Blades fetish.

But it still raises questions about The Algorithm I thought Ask.com was trying to push. The ad only alludes to it at the end of the commercial when it is displayed on the screen. And still, a search on Ask for “chicks with swords” is less than exciting.

CP+B has done creepy successfully before. Remember this one? Really though, I think they just have a weird obsession with broadway stage productions.

I await the next Ask.com chapter with some unsettling mixed feelings. I’m ready for some answers (ironic, huh?) to this Algorithm question, but I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if I saw some women who ride horses performing the Electric Slide, either.


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