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Bing Brings Back Rankin/ Bass Stop-Motion Rudolph For A Holiday Ad Campaign

above: Microsoft executives Aaron Lilly, left, and Sean Carver, pose with figures from the animated show 'Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.'

On November 23rd, Microsoft's Search Engine, Bing, kicked off the holidays with a new twist on some of the most beloved characters of all-time. Building on the iconic Rankin-Bass production of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, the stop-motion animated classic that first premiered in 1964, they are introducing a series of new stop-motion animation shorts (all shown in this post) featuring the original characters.

above: a still from one of the four stop-motion animated Bing commercials for Christmas 2011

Produced by Bent Image Labs, the new shorts will appear in select holiday TV programs including holiday specials like “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”, “Frosty the Snowman”, and “South Park Christmas”, and in movie trailers for hotly anticipated winter movies, “Arthur Christmas”, “The Muppets”, and “Happy Feet Two.”

Bing Bumble-Less:

“Bumble”, the more beloved name for the Abominable Snow Monster, features the lovable Bumble, who has lost his scary roar. He uses Bing to search for “scary monster” and once inspired by a few Bing Videos, perfects his roar to be appropriately scary again.

Bing Hot Yoga:

Yukon Cornelius becomes exhausted from pulling Hermey and Rudolph on his sled and collapses in the snow. Luckily, Bing helps him find the closest hot yoga studio using Bing Local.

Bing Social Search:

Hermey, Yukon and Bumble are tired of the winter weather and are in dire need of a vacation. Bing Travel saves the day via a “fabulous island resort” search, highlighting Hermey’s friends who have “liked” specific resorts, leading to Bing Travel and the perfect destination.

Bing You Won't Believe This:

Santa and Mrs. Claus get a little crazy in the workshop with bubble wrap, search on Bing Video for bubble wrap how-to’s, and hilarious antics ensue.

Microsoft Corp. licensed the rights to the characters from Rudolph's 47-year-old holiday special after convincing their owners that the Bing commercials would add an endearing chapter to the reindeer's story. The rights to Rudolph and the rest of the cast are owned by the children of Robert L. May, who wrote the story in 1939 while working as a copywriter at the Montgomery Ward department store (May's brother-in-law, Johnny Marks, later wrote the famous song).

Aaron Lilly, a Microsoft executive who helps conceive Bing's promotions, came up with the idea to build holiday ads around the Rudolph story two years ago. It didn't happen then because the Aflac insurance company had already bought licensing rights to the characters for that holiday season.

Microsoft declined to say how much it's spending on the Rudolph campaign.

Thanks to Sean Carver and Aaron Lilly of the Bing Team for information

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