Many is the meeting that has taken place near a water cooler -- or one containing beer -- where this phrase has been uttered: "I've had it with those conniving, cheating voles at Google. I'm switching to Bing."
Some have even declared: "If I ever perform a Google search again, I will perform a pas-de-deux with members of my local football team on the roof of a police car. Naked."
Or have they?
I haven't myself heard of a massive rebellion against Google. But someone has. That someone is Microsoft.
Moreover, apparently independent entities are confirming this searching sea change.
Ad Age quotes Ace Metrix, an ad-effectiveness research company, as declaring Scroogled "a win."
I couldn't possibly argue with this company's expertise. However, I am from the Angela Ahrendts School of Emotion, so I must relate this irrational pulse my head is currently experiencing.
Its source is a declaration just a year ago that Microsoft's all-dancing Surface ad was the most effective ad of 2012. That came from, well, Ace Metrix.
The well-known political consultant Mark Penn is behind the Scroogled campaign. He is a great believer in the combative approach.
There is nothing wrong with that. Microsoft believes it has a strong story to tell against Google.
More Technically Incorrect
But I wonder whether this campaign is truly having a huge impact.
One possible drawback is that the ads often sound like they were written by llamas in a zoo's "How To Talk To Humans" program.
The filmic qualities would be laughed out of QVC. The actors look as if they are parodying a parody of people from days when the debt ceiling was neither seen nor heard.
You might say that this is a very fine meta-meta execution. I still shudder a touch.
Apple (against Microsoft) and Samsung (against Apple) have shown how to brilliantly gouge at your rival's image and reputation with the best form of wit -- that based on more than a kernel of truth. They backed it with winning production and some excellent performances.
I fancy that if it's truly serious about making a huge impact in Google's regal position in search, Microsoft might have to go beyond the cheap bludgeoning and employ a little craftsmanship.