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You can't take the fight out of Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO ) .
The struggling online giant is launching a new marketing campaign, revolving around gypsy rockers Gogol Bordello's Start Wearing Purple. Playing off the company's own penchant for purple in its logo, the StartWearingPurple.com domain redirects to a Yahoo! page featuring purple-laden snapshots on Flickr, an elevator music prank by ImprovEverywhere's Charlie Todd, and clips of a Yahoo!-branded bicycle pedaling around town.
It's pretty crafty as far as viral campaigns go, until you get to the song's catchy chorus:
Start wearing purple, wearing purple
Start wearing purple for me now
All your sanity and wits, they will all vanish
I promise, it's just a matter of time
So what's the message -- that only insane and witless people use Yahoo!? Still, that's hardly a fatal flaw. I guess it's just great to see Yahoo! be willing to go self-effacing to make a promotional point.
The campaign's lighthearted approach may be appealing to both users and potential hires. Don't forget that last point. With Yahoo!'s stock in the tank and executive turnover high, Yahoo! needs to reestablish itself as a cool place to work. It can't lose great thinkers to Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) , Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) , or Facebook.
Investors, of course, would rather see Yahoo! wear green instead of purple. The company's latest quarter saw revenue before traffic acquisition costs inch just 8% higher, as operating profits, net income, and free cash flow all fell during the period.
A clever marketing campaign won't solve that, but it's a good start in changing the mindset of Yahoo! as a stale company. It's probably also costing Yahoo! a lot less than Microsoft is paying Jerry Seinfeld to swipe some of Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL ) mojo.
Bring on the purple people eaters.
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