Seinfeld & Gates: Was this ad supposed to be funny?

Seinfeld & Gates: Was this ad supposed to be funny?

Summary: The long-awaited $300 million ad campaign that Microsoft launched to counter Apple's successful "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" campaign aired during the Thursday night kickoff to the NFL season. Did you see it?


The long-awaited $300 million ad campaign that Microsoft launched to counter Apple's successful "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" campaign aired during the Thursday night kickoff to the NFL season. Did you see it? I missed it on TV but caught it on YouTube.

I don't get it. And seeing how the punchline was, ummm, Bill Gates adjusting his shorts, I don't think I want to get it.

Check out the commercial and tell me if I'm wrong here. For 90 seconds, it's two middle-aged guys in a discount shoe store at the mall, talking about, well, discount shoes. And, don't forget the gratuitous subtitles for the Spanish-speaking onlookers. What's that all about?

Honestly, what does any of this have to do with Microsoft, Apple or computing? It's not until the two guys - who are both showing their age, by the way - walk into the mall parking lot do we hear anything about Microsoft or computers. And then it's Jerry asking Bill, "Are they ever gonna come out with something that will make our computers moist and chewy like cake so we can just eat them while we're working? If it's yes, give me a signal. Adjust your shorts."

And then Bill moves his rear-end, prompting Jerry to say, "I knew it." And then the words, "The Future. Delicious"

Really? Jerry Seinfeld gets $10 million for that??? Maybe it's me but I suspect no one at Apple is losing sleep over this counter-campaign. At least Apple's commercials, which highlight Windows as old and stodgy compared to the young and hip Mac OS X, talk about computing.

Maybe I'm off base here but I think if Microsoft is trying to engage people with this ad, it has failed miserably. I even watched it several times, just to make sure I didn't miss something.

What do you think?

Topics: Apple, CXO, Hardware, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software

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  • the real story

    A friend of mine who works at MS says the commercial was orginally shot for a shoe store, and then Gates picked it up on the cheap and had it re-dubbed.
    • lulz icwutudidthar....

      MS never innovate only rip off and copy LOL!1!1


      Yeah, anyway...

      It's interesting to see the people whining about the ad are the usual suspects. I suppose the concept of a series of ads has probably escaped them.

      Carry on with the hating folks, I'm sure MS will carry on with dominating the OS landscape for a good number of years to come.
      Sleeper Service
      • Then how about you...?

        Explain to us exactly what this commercial was trying
        to do. What was it saying? I have my ideas, but I'll wait
        for you...

        Ok. No I won't.

        In my own case, I saw a very, VERY subtle dig at Apple
        in two things: The style of the storefront itself and the
        comments about how the shoes being tried out tend to
        run 'tight.' How many of you saw that? I expect that the
        average consumer is highly unlikely to recognize the
        dig for what it is.

        The second item was already picked up by the blogger
        himself; the "butt wiggle" by Mr. Gates. Yes, it's
        obvious there's more to come; but for now, I have to
        view this ad as a waste of money. There is almost no
        way this ad could ever be cut to 30 seconds and get its
        points across, what few points there are. Dropping the
        subtitled section might save a few seconds, but no way
        can this make sense at the length of an average
        commercial. In fact, it doesn't make sense now unless
        you actually look for the similes.

        If this is the direction Microsoft's advertising is going, I
        expect someone's going to end up taking the blame.
      • Yes please do explain it......

        Pagan jim
        James Quinn
      • Brand awareness.

        Quite simple really.

        Two rules of advertising:

        Stage one - get them to talk about it
        Stage two - get them to want it

        The irony here is that all the anti-MS crowd are the ones fuelling the rise in article hits which in turn puts MS in the public eye.

        Makes me laugh so it does.
        Sleeper Service
        • I'm not sure if you are aware of this or not

          But this site and especially this page are not in the public eye, just a hand full of techies.
          Kid Icarus-21097050858087920245213802267493
          • right you are.....

            that's why certain crowds that talk as though their software is superior, produced more ethically and they are God's gift to technology, give me a chuckle. <br><br>
            I think some of them believe all of the support they see here is "everyone". <br><br>
            That's why we get those "everyone I know" anecdotes about how one certain OS is "never" used etc.
          • Exactly, Kid...

            ...that's why I had to explain a simple concept most people would have got straight away.
            Sleeper Service
        • Shopping at discount stores?

          My first thought was, Bill's shopping for discount shoes. What does that say about Microsoft's future?
          • What was your second thought? :) <nt>

          • In marketing

            there is no second thought.
          • Really, then they are really missing out on those of us....

            that debate and look into things beyond first glance, before deciding or not on a purchase.
        • Is this a joke?

          What kind of brand awarness does Windows need?
        • Brand awareness?

          yeah because noone has a clue who this little company called MSFT is and therefor they REALLY need brand awareness advertising. And they're definately never in the public eye.

          Makes me laugh so it does (sic).
      • "MS will carry on with dominating...

        the OS landscape for a good number of years to come."

        Of course they will.
        That's what monopolies do.
        • Monopoly

          Well if enough people really want the Macnix operating system they'll buy it, right? I mean, people do have free choice still, right?
          • You are correct---sorta

            The people who are free to make a choice (those in the consumer market) are choosing Macnix more all the time. But the enterprise is another story. The "free choice" in that market is pretty close to zilch.
          • Sure...

            ...that's why Apple's global share has increased by a whopping 1.5% in two years despite a massive advertising campaign, halo effect, borderline slandering Microsoft and Microsoft's own ability to put its foot firmly in its mouth.

            Apple: outside the USA no-one really cares that much.
            Sleeper Service
          • Re: Sure...

            Not true. In Germany geeks are split in two just like in the US.

            Anyways I like the ad. Btw. I dont think its an ad, this will become a web series. I'm curious :)
          • Yup...

            ...they are: one very small segment who use OSX and Linux and one massive one who use Windows.
            Sleeper Service