Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Yahoo Gets Set to Unveil Rejiggered Ad Campaign, After First One Stumbled

Yahoo is close to rolling out a new version of its pricey advertising campaign, said several sources, after the one featuring the tagline, “It’s Y!ou,” seemed to flag.

One of the rejiggered versions being considered is centered on the concept that the Web is “personal,” with specific references–via flying tiles–to all kinds of apps and services you can use on Yahoo (YHOO), including third-party ones such as Facebook.

Yahoo launched its initial marketing effort earlier this fall with splashy events in New York and slick rollouts all over the U.S.

But not everyone at the Internet portal loved it–including CEO Carol Bartz, who criticized its effectiveness in a meeting with reporters at the Silicon Valley Internet giant’s HQ earlier this year.

“We didn’t have a really good call to action,” she said in March.

While Bartz noted that the campaign raised awareness of the Yahoo brand in international markets, it had less impact in the key U.S. market, largely because it was very unspecific about exactly what “Y!ou” meant.


Many inside the company had long worried about whether the motto and ad effort had enough punch and point to get Yahoo back on track.

But execs in charge of the effort have maintained that Yahoo was staying on the “Y!ou” message as it moves into the latest phase of the multiyear effort. However, they also promised more specific “product proof points” that focus on Yahoo’s “hero products,” such as search, email, homepage, mobile and more.

Sources said marketing head Elisa Steele is expected to give a look at the new ad direction sometime in the next week to Yahoo employees, perhaps at an all-hands meeting Wednesday that will follow its first-quarter earnings release Tuesday.

Yahoo’s new lead creative team at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners has been working on the next direction.

The San Francisco-based Goodby, owned by the Omnicom Group (OMC), is known for its innovative ideas and has done high-profile campaigns like the terrifically memorable “Got Milk?” campaign.

Previously, the job of goosing Yahoo’s tarnished brand, as part of the recently launched $100 million marketing push, was helmed by Ogilvy & Mather, a unit of the WPP Group (WPPGY).

Yahoo declined to comment when asked about the ad campaign.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald