Random Thoughts About the Second Gates/Seinfeld Windows Ad

By  |  Thursday, September 11, 2008 at 11:53 pm

I swear that I’m going to stop writing about these Bill Gates-Jerry Seinfeld Microsoft ads soon. Or at least I hope so. The second ad in the series has aired, and not only is it even more dramatically odd than the first one–it also feels like it’s about seventy-five minutes long:

A few quick thoughts on it:

–the ad seems to say quite explicitly that Bill Gates is an enormously wealthy man who has trouble bonding with normal folks. It’s at least superficially in jest, but I can’t quite tell if there’s an implicit acknowledgment there that Microsoft’s reputation among its customers could be a lot better.

–quirky though the spot may be, it feels like it has a touch of the patronizing “Your Potential. Our Passion” tone that I associate with Microsoft advertising. It’s full of little people! With hopes and dreams just like yours and mine! Who are honored by a visit from the founder of Microsoft!

–Like the first ad, this one segues into a slightly harder sell at the end: Jerry helpfully reminds Bill that the latter has “connected over a billion people,” presumably to get TV watchers thinking positive thoughts about Microsoft’s place in the world. Kinda odd to make it that personal, though–does that mean that when my PC bluescreens, I should hold Bill personally responsible?

–At the end of the commercial, the phrase “Perpetually Connecting” turns into the abbreviation “PC.” I can’t think of another ad in recent Microsoft history that’s made reference to Windows-based computers as PCs–it feels like an almost direct response to Apple’s Get a Mac ads and their Mac and PC characters. I wonder if future ads will also call PCs PCs. (Actually, I hope not: I used to be a stickler for the notion that all personal computers, including Macs, are PCs; I’ve sort of given up, though.)

–When word broke that the $300 million Windows ad campaign would star Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates, everybody and their brother (including, well, me) squawked that Microsoft was showing it was out of touch by signing an aging comedian whose glory days were more than a decade ago. After watching this ad, it looks like maybe it was all intentional–Bill and Jerry are proudly, aggressively middle-aged and unhip in this spot.

Over at All About Microsoft, Mary Jo Foley has some more thoughts and facts about the ad. She says an ad that’s more traditionally about Windows will be along shortly. One can only hope…



5 Comments For This Post

  1. Trading Books Says:

    Bill Gates will benefit you just as much. You need to do a visit and act if it is good. Lastly, you’re going to need to get Bill Gates to help with the abbreviation ” PC.

  2. realitybites Says:

    I believe I can create the next Gates/Seinfeld advitorial the very next time I go to the men’s room for a morning sit-down.
    What a load.

  3. mikhailovitch Says:

    I actually think these ads are moderately clever, and may even be a bit successful. Get over the fact that they’re not trying directly to sell product. Microsoft has over 90 % of the market, people are going to buy product anyway, for a while. Microsoft’s problem, pointed out, though not caused by those Apple ads, is that its brand is terminally not cool any more. These new PC ads, quite cleverly and without rubbing your nose in it, are demonstrating that, being terminally not cool actually has an odd coolness of its own.
    It’s not fighting the PC stereotype depicted in the Apple ads, it’s co-opting it and using it for its own ends.
    I don’t think the ads are brilliant, but they’re quite smart. And their goals are definitely long term, re-positioning the brand, not just targeting next month’s sales.

  4. joe banana Says:

    These ads don’t make sense. If you have to be “clever” to understand an ad, it loses it purpose big time, since most who live in this country cannot be called clever.

  5. Partners in Grime Says:

    I can only hope that the people in the pink house down the block have their doors locked and drapes drawn.

2 Trackbacks For This Post

  1. Windows’ Life Without Walls Print Ads: Handsome! Unconvincing! | Technologizer Says:

    […] the world are connected through Windows. That fact has also come up in the TV ads. (Jerry Seinfeld thoughtfully pointed it out to Bill Gates in the conclusion of the second spot.) I think one of the messages behind the campaign is that Windows is the opposite of the exclusive […]

  2. Seinfeld og Gates-kampanjen Akt 2 - Fra forferdelig til bedre! | Teknonytt Says:

    […] Technologizer – Random Thoughts About the Second Gates/Seinfeld Windows Ad […]