Microsoft Slams Google's Ad Practices With "Gmail Man"

Josh WolfordBusiness

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Could a leaked video slamming Google (specifically Gmail) for targeting keywords be a "rally the troops" exercise from Microsoft?

A video entitled "O365 MGX Copy" was posted to YouTube yesterday and already has amassed over 100,000 views. The video stars the "Gmail Man," a mailman who walks around reading people's mail and confronting the individuals with advertisements based on specific keywords in the mail.

The Gmail man strolls down the street looking through mail in envelopes that bear the Gmail logo, repeating words to himself like "zucchini," "volcano" and "polar bears." A little girl stops him and asks "hey mailman, are you looking at our mail?"

He laughs and says, "No. I'm looking at everyone's mail."

"Sometimes, when a person loves their Gmail very very much, the two get together and an ad is born," he goes on to say.

As you can see, the video ends with a jingle about switching to Office 365. Apparently this video was shown at last weeks' Microsoft Global Exchange sales conference. Although Microsoft put a tight lock on Tweeting and Blogging, this video somehow made its way out and on to the interwebs.

ZDNet's Mary-Jo Foley procured an official "no comment" from Microsoft when she asked about the video's legitimacy. She thinks that it is real, however, and here's why:

I have to say I think it’s the real deal. It has all the hallmarks of a real Microsoft production, including the fact that the name on the company doors that Gmail man opens when visiting an office is Contoso Ltd. As Microsoft customers, partners and watchers know all too well, Contoso is Microsoft’s favorite fake company name, and is used in demos for all kinds of Microsoft products.

The video was leaked on the same day that Google launched their "Email Intervention" campaign. This launch was also accompanied by a humorous video and asks current Gmail users to save their friends from "embarrassing" and "outdated" email address by sending them an email spurring them in the right direction.

Could this be a viral campaign by Microsoft to advertise Office 365?

For the record, Google told ZDNet that "there aren’t ads in Google Apps for Business. But admins can choose to enable the ads if they want- some find them useful."

Josh Wolford
Josh Wolford is a writer for WebProNews. He likes beer, Japanese food, and movies that make him feel weird afterward. Mostly beer. Follow him on Twitter: @joshgwolf Instagram: @joshgwolf Google+: Joshua Wolford StumbleUpon: joshgwolf