Will Yahoo Win the Search Wars with Info Overload?

Today Yahoo! began a $100 million advertising push with the following commercial, which the company says is titled "Anthem." Can Yahoo win the search-ad wars with inundation?

That's a lot of humanity for one ad: a lot of colors, a lot of movement, a lot of stuff. You might call it overload--especially if you're fond of Microsoft's Bing commercials, which end with the tagline: "What has search overload done to us?"

Yahoo seems to answer the "overload" question with, well, overload. As it blasts you with a litany of images, the voice in the background coos:

You are about to enter a place
Where time and space collide
And breed wonder
And joy
Wow

"Wow" is right. It's not every day that your search engine commercial sounds like a magic-mushroom-addled preface to a Pixar movie.

The voice goes on about this place: Where you can consume, share, buzz, destroy, earn, flirt, watch, and wonder in new ways. Yeah, yeah, I know this poem: "I take part...I see and hear the whole...the fan-shaped explosion, the whizz of limbs heads stone wood and iron high in the air..." But what if I just wanted to find a new lawnmower?

Microsoft, in contrast, offers you 1) a way to shop with visual search and 2) cash back for doing it with Bing.

Right now, Yahoo! enjoys an ever-slipping 19% market-share, while Bing climbs upwards of 9%. Their ad campaigns make two contrasting bets: Microsoft puts its money on simplicity, practicality, and functionality; in short, this campaign is the anti-Vista marketing strategy. Yahoo! seems to think it can win back Googlers with an emotional appeal. The question is: Do searchers want a new way to view results, or a "place that will launch a billion yodels?"

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