Mozilla launches viral campaign to tout Firefox

'Help others download a more interesting life,' says Microsoft's browser rival

Fight boredom. Download Firefox.

That's the gist of a viral marketing campaign Mozilla kicked off Monday to push its open-source Web browser to new users.

"Rise up. Help others download a more interesting life," the campaign's site exhorts.

"Mozilla, dead set on retaining users, will launch a new online campaign called the 'Fight Against Boredom,'" said the anonymous author of a tongue-in-cheek blog dubbed "The Truth About Mozilla". The blog's writer goes only by the alias "Lizard," the Mozilla mascot.

"While the Lizard has no doubt that this campaign will be successful simply due to the number of Internet stars Mozilla tapped to make it possible, I do believe that this is a waste of Mozilla's money and effort. Promoting Firefox is arguably a good thing, but doing it in such a lame way doesn't truly convert users."

The campaign boasts a Web site, an anthem, a link to Firefox's download and an enormous list of statistics that purport to compare Firefox users with people who run its rival, Microsoft's Internet Explorer. Among the off-beat -- and unverifiable -- stats that take shots at Microsoft's IE are those that claim Firefox users are:

  • 123% more likely to be a student;
  • 35% less likely to be expecting a grandchild in the next year;
  • 15% more likely to have watched cartoons on TV within the last seven days;
  • 21% less likely to fish.

The anthem, dubbed "Rise Up," contains lyrics that most likely won't be welcome in Redmond, Wash., home of Microsoft, including:

"But some people make choices in life, that turn out pretty lame Sitting at home drinking white zin, playing a solitary card game"

as well as:

"Quit your day job with the man.

Rise up! Rise up!"

According to Lizard, the campaign was created by AKQA, an ad agency that has also done work, ironically, for Microsoft.

The campaign is a departure from Mozilla's usual marketing efforts, which has relied on the Spread Firefox site and the host of fans who drum up support for the browser.

According to data for December compiled by Net Applications, Firefox accounted for a record 16.8% of all browsers that visited the 40,000 sites the California company monitors for its clients. Microsoft's Internet Explorer's share, meanwhile, slipped during from November's 77.4% to 76% last month.

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Gregg Keizer

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