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Yext Highlights Search Technology Gap in ’90s-Themed Integrated Marketing Campaign

A TV Commercial Set at a “Class of 1999” Reunion, a Parody Installation CD, an Interactive “Escape the ’90s” Game, and Other Nostalgia-Driven Assets Encourage Businesses to Leave Outdated Keyword Search in the Past For Yext Modern Alternative.

Yext, Inc., the Answers Search Company, announced a 1990s-themed integrated marketing campaign to playfully educate businesses on the real problem of using outdated search technology. The company, which provides modern, AI-powered search solutions for businesses, is launching a variety of creative assets to communicate that keyword search technology, which typically delivers lists of irrelevant hyperlinks to customer questions, is the last holdout of 1990s technology that most companies have yet to update.

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In addition to launching its first television campaign and video ads on digital and social channels, Yext collaborated with Adweek to activate the campaign in the publication’s May 10th CMO-themed issue. Readers who receive a print copy of the magazine will find a “Keyword Search” CD insert, reminiscent of the installation CDs frequently mailed to consumers in the late 1990s. The Yext-created CD includes a QR code that takes readers to a microsite, www.got-hyperlinks.com, where they are challenged to “escape the ’90s” and impending Y2K doom by selecting between outdated technology choices in an interactive game.

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The TV spot, produced in partnership with Sawhorse Productions out of Los Angeles, uses comedy to personify different technologies as they return to their high school reunion. The characters include a cell phone (“Cell Phone”), cloud storage (“Storage”), and internet (“Internet”) reflecting on how outdated they were in high school back in 1999. The story’s antagonist is “Keyword Search,” who hasn’t changed in looks, attitude, or efficacy since graduation.

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“We have a pretty simple message, which is there are two kinds of business search out there — outdated keyword search that is stuck in the past, and modern, AI-powered search built for today,” said Josh Grau, Chief Marketing Officer at Yext. “The choice might seem obvious, but the reality is millions of companies still use keyword search to power their websites. To shine a light on this problem, we created a multi-media campaign using humor to compare using keyword search with using technology that is so obviously outdated, like an old flip phone or a dial-up modem. Search is mission critical to a business’s success, and we think this campaign will help create more awareness of its importance in an increasingly digital world.”  

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