Posted by Dale Buss on April 9, 2010 02:24 PM
As the cornerstone of a new brand identity, can we all agree that Yahoo’s “It’s You” campaign hasn’t exactly turned the world upside down since it was launched last fall, despite the apparent expenditure of much of the $100 million budgeted for it?
Which raises another issue. Yahoo last week filed for a trademark on the “It’s You” expression. The question: Why bother?
It’s not as if this branding campaign has been lighting the world on fire. Yahoo’s continuing problem as a brand nowadays actually stems from its history as one of the original
brands spawned by the internet. During the 1990's, just being an internet brand was brand enough. There was America Online, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo (usually with the “!” back then) and a few grocery-delivery sites. Google hadn’t even really come on strong yet.
But over the years, Yahoo has remained the epitome of a generic internet brand while almost all of the other surviving major early internet brands have gone on to stand for more distinctive things. Yahoo enables users to do – well, practically everything. So the brand stands for nothing in particular.
That’s why Yahoo CEO Carole Bartz triggered the “It’s You” marketing campaign in September: The company wanted to speak directly to individuals to make the message more about them than about Yahoo, and to show users how they can personalize the Yahoo experience.
Apparently, Yahoo brass believe the campaign must be working if they bothered seeking trademark protection for the slogan. But Nike caused more excitement this week with one lame commercial featuring Tiger Woods than Yahoo has created over the last nine months with “It’s You."
Does Yahoo know something we don’t – or vice versa?