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.
As AdAge reports, the company believes that is having "a huge impact."
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, so I must relate this irrational pulse my head is currently experiencing.
Its source isthat 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.
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.