Before getting into how we feel about Yahoo’s new marketing campaign, let’s get the news out of the way. The company’s new slogan is “It Starts With Y!ou.” That’s their spelling (or misspelling), not ours. Yahoo is spending more than $100 million on the campaign. Advertising campaigns will deploy in 10 countries, starting with the U.S. on September 28th and expanding to the U.K and India on October 5th.
Why the branding shake-up? Yahoo has made some major changes to its site, enhancing Yahoo Messenger with video chat, jumping in bed with Bing to enhance its search, and revamping video and image search results pages. But the “Y!ou” campaign tries to drive home the point that Yahoo helps users connect with the world around them, making the Web “more personally relevant for you.” The concept kind of reminds you of Goodby’s “The Computer is Personal Again” campaign for HP from 2006…
“Our vision is to be at the center of people’s online lives—to be at the place where their world meets the larger world,” said Elisa Steele, Yahoo! executive vice president and chief marketing officer, speaking at the IAB MIXX Conference and Expo in New York City. “Our new branding will focus on people—the power and promise of ‘you.’”
So is the best way to connect with Internet users is with a wayward exclamation point and an ad campaign in which everyone looks ripped, sexy, and bursting with joy? We’re dubious. We get the pun with the “Y” in “Yahoo” and how Yahoo’s all about getting personal, but will a neon ad blitz with weird punctuation make up for the fact that Yahoo still lags behind competitors like Google and Microsoft in business acumen and search effectiveness? It makes you wonder whether the $100 mill would be better spent elsewhere.