New Microsoft Ads

You’ve probably seen the new ads Microsoft has put out, starting with the ones Jerry Seinfield were in. If you haven’t seen them, you’re not missing out on much, but if you’re curious, you can watch them here: Gates and Seinfeld: The future is delicious.

When it was first announced that Microsoft was having a $300 million ad campaign involving Jerry Seinfield, someone on /. posted this:

Elaine (with Apple-ish grin): I just bought a Macbook
Jerry (non-chalantly sipping his coffee in front of his Dell): So? I’ve got Vista.
Elaine (frowning): But this is a Mac, Jerry.
Jerry: But it’s not Vista.
Elaine: No, it’s not Vista. It’s a Mac.
Jerry: It’s very shiny. What’d that thing cost you?
Elaine (defensive): What does that matter?
Jerry: One thousand?
Elaine: Jerry…
Jerry: Two thousand?
Elaine: Stop…
Jerry: Three th–
Elaine: $2755.
Jerry: Inclu–
Elaine: Including tax.
Jerry: 1250
Elaine: 1250 what?
Jerry: Vista.
Elaine: But it’s not a Mac!
Jerry: It checks email.
Elaine: So does my Mac.
Jerry: Surfs the web.
Elaine: So does my Mac.
Jerry: Makes movies.
Elaine: So does…it does? I thought Windows didn’t make movies.
Jerry (shrugs and sips): Vista.
(Door explodes open!)
Kramer: Jerry! The Dell store down the street is selling computers with Vista for $1500!
Jerry: 1250
Kramer (walking over to Jerry’s laptop): Oooh, is that…
Jerry: Vista.
Kramer: Niiiice.

I actually thought that was quite creative and fit the Seinfield theme well.

When I saw the first commercial (the one with the shoe and churro), everyone down the hall at Microsoft was basically yelling “WTF”. I had to scratch my head and wonder, what the heck was this commercial about. Is it trying to sell shoes? or churros? Personally I wasn’t blinded by Bill Gates wiggling his butt, but I can understand if you were. Everyone at work was just wondering what the heck was this commercial about? We figured if anything, this was suppose to be viral and would get people talking about it. I guess they applying the philosophy that any publicity is good publicity.

Anyway, the 2nd commercial came out and at least this one I found it to be mildly amusing, but still nothing related to Microsoft or Windows. At least it wasn’t as WTF as the first one. All along the marketing team has called this “phase one” and it was meant to be an ice breaker to get people talking about Microsoft.

Then the new I’m a PC ads started showing up and I have to say that it was actually done quite well. I have to admit, I got a similar feeling watching that as when I saw Where the Hell is Matt? (the guy who does a funny dance around the world).

One thing I didn’t quite get was when Deepak Chopra says, “I’m a PC and a human being. Not a human doing, not a human thinking, a human being.” What does that even mean? I guess that’s why he’s the philosopher and I’m not.

Many people are claiming that Microsoft screwed up again and canceled the Jerry Seinfield ads because of the poor reception, but I think New York Times did a good article on it: Echoing the Campaign of a Rival, Microsoft Aims to Redefine ‘I’m a PC’ . If the Seinfield ads were indeed cut short, I personally feel that it was most likely done because it exceeded expectations on getting the number of people talking. As noted earlier, this was always phase 1 (an ice breaker) and if we can reach the target # of audience with 2 commercials, why make 5 (number I just pulled out of my ***)?

While reading Digg, someone pointed me to this comment made on the Penny Arcade forums:

Are you serious? A big part of the ad was a stab at Jobs, his controlling nature within Apple, and his famous “reality distortion field”. The old lady who’d been there for 12 years (the same number of years since Jobs returned to Apple) ran the whole show. She was doing the laundry, she was doing the yard work, she was fixing the car. She kept up the facade of a rather dated looking home full of people who were caught up in appearances (the neighbor’s car) and the pretension of useless things like Greek coins, wine mustard and leather giraffes. When the old lady croaks, the place will fall apart. They had shitty pong to play (Macs suck at gaming) while Bill Gates had the most incredible game ever for the kid.

The first ad was a rip on the Apple Store – the fact you buy your computers from a place in the mall and they don’t even fit you properly. Regular people pointlessly idolize them (the family staring through the window) and you don’t get much for your money “Why pay more?”

Keep in mind the entire purpose of these ads is that they’re a direct response to Apple’s “Mac vs. PC” campaign, it’s hardly a stretch to point out the statements being made about Apple vs. MSFT in them.

I never thought about them that way, but it’s an interesting way to look at the Seinfield ads.

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