Microsoft Bing, coming soon to an NFL jersey near you

John Froschauer/AP
Olindo Mare of the Seattle Seahawks watches as he misses a 43-yard field goal in an NFL game against the Chicago Bears on Sunday. The official Seahawks practice jersey now carries advertising for the Microsoft Bing search engine.

So let's say you're a plus-sized technology company, looking to hawk a fledging search engine. You want maximum visibility. You also probably want to link your product with an established brand, thus bolstering your staying power. Why not go with the NFL?

We're doing a bit of inferring here, but we imagine that was the thinking behind a new marketing campaign for Bing, Microsoft's chart-climbing search engine. As USA Today reports, the Seattle Seahawks have "become the first NFL team to emblazon a company logo – other than one from a sports equipment maker – on their uniforms, albeit only the practice jerseys."

That logo? Bing! You guessed it.

"The Seahawks and Bing are a perfect brand match," Seahawks CEO Tod Leiweke told Byron Acohido of USA Today. "We viewed the available space on our practice jersey as sacred, not simply a billboard opportunity, and reserved it for a partner that shares our core values."

No word on whether the Bing campaign will soon expand to to other teams.

Bing was first unveiled on May 28, at the All Things Digital Conference. Microsoft had initially promised the engine would be live by June 3, but the service went online two days early. A major multimedia advertising campaign – comprised of banner ads, video spots, and interactive displays on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter – soon followed.

Since June, Bing has continued to attract new swaths of users. According to the media tracking company comScore, Bing claimed 9.3 percent of the US search market share in August. As Bing has netted more traffic, Microsoft has thrown more marketing power behind the search engine.

And why not? As we reported earlier this month, a new batch of figures released by Nielsen put Bing as the fastest growing search engine in the United States.


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