Microsoft is ending its Scroogled TV advertising campaign attacking Google's security practices. Public radio and TV station KQED reports that Microsoft senior director of online services Stefan Weitz said "that part is about finished," referring to the TV ads that lambasted the search company and reminded some of political attack ads. The Scroogled website is still up, however, and Weitz's remarks do not necessarily mean that Microsoft is abandoning the tagline and the message of the campaign altogether.
Stefan Weitz did offer KQED a few more details on the origin of the attack ads, however. He says that the idea first came up from an opinion poll by the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research that found seven out of ten didn't "know that this practice of scanning emails was happening, and when they found out they didn't like it." By raising awarness, Weitz continued, Microsoft hoped to make people "hit that cognitive speed bump" and at least momentarily question their use of Google's services. Ultimately, however, Weitz called Google's services "a habit... it's like smoking. It's hard to get folks to stop doing it."
Update: Microsoft has given the following statement to BGR regarding the Scroogled ad campaign:
The Scroogled campaign has sparked a dialogue that shows how much consumers care about their privacy, and how strongly they feel about the fact that Google goes through their personal emails to sell ads. More than 3.5 million people visited Scroogled.com, and over 114k signed a petition asking Google to stop going through their Gmail. While the ad portion of this phase of the consumer education campaign has finished its scheduled run, this important conversation about privacy continues, and so does this important consumer choice.
Update 2: Microsoft has provided us with a second statement — making it clear that no matter what the future of the TV ads, the Scroogled campaign as a whole won't be going anywhere:
Scroogled will go on as long as Google keeps Scroogling people. We know Google doesn't like it when the facts come out. Chapter two of the consumer education campaign has shown people care about their privacy. More than 3.5 million people visited scroogled.com, and nearly 115,000 people signed a petition asking Google to stop going through their Gmail. Stay tuned for the next chapter.