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Microsoft taps Seinfeld to help battle Apple in new ad campaign

post #1 of 146
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Battered and bruised by a long-running advertising campaign on the part of rival Apple, Inc., Microsoft Corp. is turning to sitcom star and world renowned comedian Jerry Seinfeld to help clean up the public perception of its Windows Vista operating system.

Citing "people close to the situation," the Wall Street Journal reports that the Redmond-based software giant will pay Seinfeld a cool $10 million to serve as a pitchman alongside company chairman Bill Gates in a new series of ads that will begin airing on September 4th.

The ads will use some variation of the slogan "Windows, Not Walls," according to the report, and "stress breaking down barriers that prevent people and ideas from connecting." They'll be just one part of a much broader $300 million campaign, however, which is said to be one of the largest in Microsoft's history.

Over the past two years, Apple has used series of international ads to attack the shortcomings of Microsoft's latest operating system, Vista, while highlighting the strengths of its own Mac platform. The ads feature staid and witless PC character who's constantly outclassed by a hipster Mac guy.

Although Microsoft has contested the ads, claiming they portray Vista unfairly, the company has also recognized the recent progress of Apple, which has seen its PC sales growth rate soar to three times that of the overall industry.

"In the competition between PCs and Macs, we outsell Apple 30-to-1. But there is no doubt that Apple is thriving," Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer wrote in the email to employees last month. "Why? Because they are good at providing an experience that is narrow but complete, while our commitment to choice often comes with some compromises to the end-to-end experience."

Going forward, Ballmer said Microsoft will be changing the way it works with hardware vendors to mimic the experience offered by the Mac maker in which there will be "absolutely no compromises." As a first order of business, Ballmer promised to begin mending the image of Vista now that the release of SP1 has largely addressed a number of compatibility issues that plagued the software in its early going.

"Now it’s time to tell our story," he told employees. "In the weeks ahead, we’ll launch a campaign to address any lingering doubts our customers may have about Windows Vista. And later this year, you’ll see a more comprehensive effort to redefine the meaning and value of Windows for our customers."

According to the Journal, Microsoft also considered a range of other famous personalities for the role ultimately retained by Seinfeld, such as comedians Will Ferrell and Chris Rock.

The upcoming campaign is to be "the brainchild of Crispin Porter + Bogusky, a Miami-based ad shop that has helped revitalize brands such as Burger King."

Ironically, the computers featured in the 9-year situation comedy Seinfeld, for which the comedian payed a semi-fictional version of himself, were always Macs.
post #2 of 146
"Headquartered in Miami and Boulder [Colorado]" and not just Miami-based.
post #3 of 146
So will Kramer (Michael Richards) use one his famous violent bursts through Jerry's apartment door during the Ads?

Oh wait, perhaps he'll go on a tirade and start telling Gates how Vista sucks?
post #4 of 146
Say it isnt so SeinMan....so it isnt so.....
post #5 of 146
God talk about two has beens...

And two geeks...

Yeah that commercial is SURE to be a hit
post #6 of 146
Damn you, Seinfeld!

I don't think Microsoft actually outsells Apple 30 to 1. I think Ballmer just likes ringing that bell.
post #7 of 146
Does this mean that, for enough money, Seinfeld would leave Superman for Iron Man?
post #8 of 146
The first thought I had when I read this thread was, Jerry ALWAYS had a Mac.

So, yes, for enough dough, it seems he would leave SUPERMAN for even The Ambiguously Gay Duo.
post #9 of 146
Seinfeld adds have the potential to work with me. But I'm of a slightly older demographic than perhaps what MS is or should be aiming for.

I really wonder how 20 and 30 year old consumers will connect to Jerry.
post #10 of 146
Jerry Seinfeld was paid $1 million per episode for "Seinfeld" during the show's final season. He continues to receive royalties from syndication. Does he need to work for Microsoft?

Also, it is a bit ironic that Seinfeld would plug Microsoft Windows given that a Macintosh was often seen inside his TV show apartment.
post #11 of 146
Seems they are doing what Apple did several years ago with Jeff Goldblum. I wonder if Seinfeld was part of the "Mojave Experiment". lol
post #12 of 146
Of course Microsoft has to copy Apple AGAIN.... Don't forget that Seinfeld was featured in a "Think Different" Apple ad years ago... Can Microsoft not copy everything that Apple does!!!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Think_Different

The Seinfeld "Think Different" ad was shown only once, during the series finale of Seinfeld
post #13 of 146
I. cannot. wait. to see this commercial.

But why on Earth do they want to put Bill Gates in these commercials? Already, this is looking like a horrible start.
post #14 of 146
Quote:
Originally Posted by Enigmafan420 View Post

God talk about two has beens...

And two geeks...

Yeah that commercial is SURE to be a hit

For real. While Seinfeld is still funny, his Primetime tv days are over. And who wants to see Bill Gates interacting with him? Microsoft is looking more and more desperate these days to keep up it's image with consumers.
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post #15 of 146
Ohhh, this is so delicious.

Crispin Porter's ad campaign I'm most familiar with are the recent rash of Burger King TV ads in the USA. They're the ones which feature giant hamburgers going up to competitors' drive-through windows (or front doors), and asking for Burger King's signature sandwich. Whoop-te-do. They haven't inspired me to hit a Burger King drive-through lately.

They also did a TV spot where they placed hidden cameras in a Burger King, and then had the staff announce that Burger King was no longer selling their signature sandwich. Those I thought were more effective, but either Burger King or Crispin Porter chickened out, if you'll pardon a bad pun.

Seeing what they'll do with Microsoft vs. His Steveness's fruit-flavored company is going to be a bunch o' fun to watch.
post #16 of 146
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magic_Al View Post

Does this mean that, for enough money, Seinfeld would leave Superman for Iron Man?

Or maybe it's just the Bee movie man for the Zee OS??
post #17 of 146
"In the competition between PCs and Macs, we outsell Apple 30-to-1

What's this "We shit" - Microsoft doesn't sell computers, they sell software!

Oh, I believe that number is changing - likely to be another reason to go after Apple … cool when folks shake in their boots

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post #18 of 146
Seinfeld is sooo yesterday. I guess it fits perfectly with Windows, an OS about nothing.
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post #19 of 146
Great! A guy who starred in a show about nothing, now is going to star in ads about an OS about nothing... nothing new about MS or their Vista OS... that is.

I wonder which digital music player Seinfeld uses, if he uses one at all before this MS ad campaign?

I wonder what the target demographic age is for computer purchasers? I mean, Seinfeld ran from July 5, 1989 to May 14, 1998. Some young adult or kid going off to college looking for a notebook computer, music player, smart phone, will they be influenced by Seinfeld-who? or influenced by the craftiness of the ad?

Seinfeld, what have you done lately to be iconic in the public eye except for making "B' movies? Sure there are re-runs of Seinfeld and sure Seinfeld is an extremely talented comic and is probably having a great time on the comic circuit, but when I think about all this, I revert back to that ad... "It's not your fathers Oldsmobile" ad campaign...

"In response to research that showed it perceived as an older-targeted, middle-of-the-road automobile in the late 1980's, Oldsmobile decided to change its image. Oldsmobile wanted a younger, more performance-oriented, more "expressive" positioning. Thus was born the "Not Your Father's Oldsmobile" campaign.

The campaign featured some very clever spots...remember Ringo and his daughter? But the campaign was a major flop, not reaching the "new generation of Olds" and probably alienating some of the older ones.

"Why? Because the spots weren't "creative" enough? No. Because the entire concept behind "Not Your Father's Oldsmobile" was hopelessly flawed. It is a conceit of marketers and ad agencies that they think they can turn around an entrenched image rooted in decades of consumer experience with a cute spot or two. They can't!"

http://www.kassof.com/insights/ri-wi940.htm

Well good luck with MS...

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post #20 of 146
This is serious. Jobs needs to lock up Wayne Knight (the guy who played Newman) ASAP
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post #21 of 146
The whole show was simply about irony and how a bunch of people obsess over nonsense. It seems that M$ is going down the same road. I frankly dont know why they would go this direction. However, this is the same company that brought us all the Zune...in brown of course....
post #22 of 146
Seinfeld: "Hey Bill. What's the deal with Windows Vista? Everybody's saying it's an awful thing, yada yada."
Gates: "Actually Jerry, our research has shown that far more people are happy with Vista than upset. And for those that have been upset, we've released updates to address their concerns."
Seinfeld: "So you've made Vista a master of it's own domain? Well whatdya know!"
Gates: "You know, Jerry, you need to move on past your TV series days."
Seinfeld: "Right. Just like Windows users need to move on past XP and get Vista. It's great! Now I'm going to go eat some cereal."

Oh, this is going to be good.
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post #23 of 146
Cool! Maybe they can follow up with a Zune ad with Elaine.

post #24 of 146
Quote:
Ironically, the computers featured in the 9-year situation comedy Seinfeld, for which the comedian payed a semi-fictional version of himself, were always Macs

He takes money from Apple for product placement, he takes money from Microsoft for commercials. Seinfeld is a money fanboy.
post #25 of 146
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeaPeaJay View Post

But why on Earth do they want to put Bill Gates in these commercials?

It's to remind you that all the children of Africa benefit each time you purchase Windows Vista.
post #26 of 146
Wow.... what a way to get people to connect to your product, but to use a dated actor who starred in a show that ENDED over 10 years ago.

That's ok M$..... you'll maybe snag a couple people in my generation (X/MTV/whatever you wanna call it), but you already know that you have lost this Millennial Generation that is aged 10-25 forever. Since all studies I have been reading this summer of high schoolers and college freshmen state that on average 58% either own or want to use a Mac.

It's all about everything "just working".... M$ has never been able to wrangle everything into a nice package.
post #27 of 146
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider

Ironically, the computers featured in the 9-year situation comedy Seinfeld, for which the comedian payed a semi-fictional version of himself, were always Macs

Just have to point out that this is also simply a wrong statement. Jerry had a regular PC on the show for quite a while although the computer was never turned on that I recall.

The main thing I get from this announcement though is fear for Seinfeld.

If Jerry's "brand" is 19th out of tens of thousands, why is he selling himself to another brand that is currently falling like a stone. This move is more likely to drag Seinfeld's brand down into the dirt, than polish Microsoft's. A company's brand can be re-invented, but once an individual gets the public thinking they are a tool, it's all over.

Seinfeld need look no further than his friend Michael Richards who destroyed an entire career and went from one of the most beloved characters in the USA to a paraiah overnight through a comedy routine that was shorter than any of these commercials are likely to be.
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post #28 of 146
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Battered and bruised by a long-running advertising campaign on the part of rival Apple, Inc., Microsoft Corp. is turning to sitcom star and world renowned comedian Jerry Seinfeld to help clean up the public perception of its Windows Vista operating system.
-----
Ironically, the computers featured in the 9-year situation comedy Seinfeld, for which the comedian payed a semi-fictional version of himself, were always Macs.

Gotta say, this is just the Microsoft MO. They have a gajillion dollars, so they pay a big celebrity to show up. The celebrity himself knows, I'd bet, next to nothing about computers. Seinfeld is a great comedian, but he'll have no impact on the situation. Why "do like Jerry does" in computing? Any more than Tom Selleck or Tom Cruise or any of the other celebrities paid to show up at the Windows events.

On the other hand, they have a lot of money to spend on the ads, and everybody knew the other shoe would drop.
post #29 of 146
Crispin Porter and Microsoft is a very unlikely pairing. The possible results include:

1) CP's creative is watered down by MS meddling, branding CP as a sellout
2) Typically off the wall CP creative seen as wholly unfit miscue for Microsoft
3) Spectacularly off the mark mismatch between "old" MS rep and "new" MS re-branding/image proffered by CP creative sounds a dull thud as confused people scratch their head.
4) CP cashes a series of big checks; "fires" Microsoft; says, "yeah it sucked --because of THEM. That's why we fired THEM;" then moves on to next target.

Don't discount that the audience may be older infrastructure decision makers in corporations instead of whatever generation we're up to now... Gen-Y?? Gen-Z??

I'm betting on all 4 of the above.

gc
post #30 of 146
Quote:
Originally Posted by backtomac View Post

Seinfeld adds have the potential to work with me. But I'm of a slightly older demographic than perhaps what MS is or should be aiming for.

I really wonder how 20 and 30 year old consumers will connect to Jerry.

A 20-year old was 10 when his series went off the air. Unless they saw it in syndication, they probably aren't all that familiar with Seinfeld. They may as well have gotten Lucille Ball.
post #31 of 146
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post

Seinfeld is sooo yesterday. I guess it fits perfectly with Windows, an OS about nothing.

Absolutely the best post I've seen in awhile.
post #32 of 146
Quote:
Originally Posted by DestructoTex View Post

They may as well have gotten Lucille Ball.

ROFLMAO-Good One
post #33 of 146
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post

Just have to point out that this is also simply a wrong statement. Jerry had a regular PC on the show for quite a while although the computer was never turned on that I recall.

You sure about that? I only remember macs. Maybe you thought it was a PC when he had a Mac LC?

As I recall it started out as original macs (512, Classic, SE) then some LCs, and a 20th anniversary Mac the final year of the show.
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post #34 of 146
I'd like to see Microsoft ads that were produced by Crispin Glover.

They'd look something like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbCiac03ycQ
post #35 of 146
That's fitting: "It's about nothing".
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post #36 of 146
Quote:
Originally Posted by Enigmafan420 View Post

God talk about two has beens...

And two geeks...

Yeah that commercial is SURE to be a hit

I only wish I could be such a "has been" that makes 10 million dollars for a set of commercials. Oh the pain of being a has been.
post #37 of 146
>> Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2
Just have to point out that this is also simply a wrong statement. Jerry had a regular PC on the show for quite a while although the computer was never turned on that I recall.

Sorry, thanks for playing. It is you who is wrong. Take a look at jerry's desk and you will see a mac. The first computer was a mac plus or something from that era, which was replaced with a desktop mac later in the show.
post #38 of 146
Windows and Seinfeld share one important thing in common: they both peaked around 1995 and it's been all downhill ever since.

And I totally agree with GordonComstock's post. An ad campaign isn't just about how creative an agency is, but about how much the client trusts the agency to execute their vision of the brand or product. Microsoft is a thoroughly meddlesome client with a highly muddled portfolio of brands that is difficult to distill into concepts that are easy to communicate. Believe me, I've witnessed it firsthand.

And don't get me started about CP+B, whose work I think is mostly overrated.

If "Seinfeld + Gates" and the Mojave Project are the first two clues about their new branding strategy, it's safe to say that Apple and Chiat-Day have little to worry about.
post #39 of 146
Vista has an image problem, its slowing sales of Vista and Microsoft want to change that.

Now, heres the catch. Using advertising they will try and reduce the stigma of Vista, more people will probably check it out and the initial reaction to Vista is "Hey, that looks pretty smart. Its like XP but shiny and see through" etc etc

Then they get it home and that when the fun starts. WiFi wont connect. It wont shut down correctly. Wont start up correctly. Wont run your programs.

the list of issues goes on and on and on. then they go back to XP.

But, do Microsoft care? Do they hell. They don't give a stuff as by the time you figure out you bought a lemon its too late.

Seinfeld had the following Mac stuff on the show:
20th Anniversary Mac,
PowerMac 6100,
Mac SE,
DuoDock,
ADB Keyboard,
Apple MultiScan 15,
MacWarehouse catalogue
post #40 of 146
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flounder View Post

You sure about that? I only remember macs. Maybe you thought it was a PC when he had a Mac LC?

As I recall it started out as original macs (512, Classic, SE) then some LCs, and a 20th anniversary Mac the final year of the show.

He also had a PowerBook Duo with DuoDock somewhere along the line. I don't think that Duo ever left the dock, either.
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