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TIM FAULKNER — It didn't seem possible, but Ask's advertising has actually gotten worse in moving from billboards to television. The commercial for the also-ran search engine features a Tommy Tune-esque spokesman in search of dancing, singing women brandishing broadswords (apparently). Reminiscent of late web boom Super Bowl ads that were more likely to prompt the viewer to ask, "WTF? Was that an ad? For what? Was it a joke?" than invoke brand acceptance and education, the commercial shows Ask hasn't learned and is committed to bizarre, off-putting advertising.

And just when you start to hope they've abandoned the "algorithm" branding, after 30 seconds of "I got what I was looking for... He got what he was looking for" repeated incessantly, the spot ends with "Ask: The Algorithm" being entered in a search box. Ugh.

One has to ask: didn't they abandon the Jeeves mascot because they wanted to be perceived as a serious technology company?

[Video posted to YouTube by Techcrunch.]