A UK advertising regulator ruled that a Microsoft “Scroogled” radio ad attacking the way Google scans user email was not misleading, despite two complaints against the Redmond software giant.
The ad, part of Microsoft’s ongoing “Scroogled” campaign that lambasts Google’s privacy policies, uses a Pig Latin voiceover to show how Microsoft offers better email security.
“Pig Latin may be hard to understand, but you probably need it if you use Gmail, because Gmail scans every word of your e-mails to sell ads,” the ad says. “But Outlook.com doesn’t.”
Here’s a similar TV ad that ran in the UK:
Though acknowledging that Outlook.com also scans user emails, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said that Microsoft only does so to spot viruses and spam messages. It noted that this was “standard practice for email providers,” and that Google, meanwhile, looks for keywords in emails to sell targeted advertisements.
“Because the ad made clear that the privacy claims were in relation to ad targeting, which Outlook.com does not carry out, we therefore concluded that the ad was not misleading,” the ASA said.
Microsoft has been running the “Scroogled” campaign for nearly a year-and-a-half now as a way to highlight Google’s handling of user data and placement of ads within email or search results, among other issues. The “Scroogled” website has individual pages set-up addressing Google’s privacy, spam, search engine, apps, email and shopping products.
This latest Scroogled update comes just a week after a former Microsoft architect was arrested on federal criminal charges for theft of Microsoft trade secrets after the company had searched through his email account.