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UK sees the return of Jeeves the butler for Ask

Three years ago I attended the Jeeves retirement party in New York when IAC showed the famous ‘Jeeves’ butler frozen in ice – the implication was always that Jeeves would one day be back. And back he certainly is in the UK as reported by non-less than the BBC – and he’s offering prizes and answers to questions once more. The askjeeves domain and Ask.com in the UK are directing you to a UK page which features the question “Why am I back?”.

The site’s answer: “I popped out three years ago to travel the world in a quest for knowledge and I’ve returned to Blighty armed with answers. During my sojourn research showed the public wanted me back, which I found jolly touching. And in that time the engineers toiled hard to make the site look better, work harder and be more personal…just like yours truly! I realise the questions are different now. Back in 2006 you wanted to know about spending money, now you want to know about saving it. That’s why I’ve teamed up with TV’s moneysaving expert Jasmine Birtles to bring you ten ways to save money, if I may. And don’t forget to pop back and see me on the site throughout this week, I have some terrific prizes to give away!” For those not totally conversant with UK English – Blighty is a war time term for the UK!

There are two possible options for Jeeves – test in the UK or use in the UK as a UK specific brand. I’m guessing it’s the former. It’s always dangerous to dump a brand which has seen so much investment and personally I believe it is the right move for Ask – Jeeves should never have been ‘fired’. His character may be odd and out of worldly – but at least he’s a character implying service whilst the Ask home page is as dull as dishwater! Or as we marketers say, the brand characteristics of the Ask.com home page hold few differentials to Google. So yes, as dull as dishwater!

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Andy Atkins-Kruger

CEO at Webcertain
Andy is the CEO of Webcertain. He is a trained linguist with 20 years of experience in international marketing, having helped major brand leaders with their advertising and public relations projects on five continents. Webcertain has been operating multilingual search marketing campaigns for over 15 years and is one of few agencies which only deal with international campaigns; the company doesn't deal in single market projects. Andy speaks regularly at conferences around the world.

One Response to UK sees the return of Jeeves the butler for Ask

  1. Nick Wilsdon says:

    It’s good to see Jeeves back, even though they have given up the search engine game to become a site of FAQs. They have good brand recognition and clarity which is more than you can say for MSN/Live at the moment.

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