Seinfeld, Gates 'connect' with regular folks in new Microsoft ad

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
The commercial series 'about nothing' featuring Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld continued Thursday evening with a new segment seemingly about something: Microsoft's ability to 'connect' with ordinary people.



The four and half minute extended skit can be seen below. It's been reported that Microsoft has agreed to pay Seinfeld approximately $10 million for his role in the ads, which are said to be just one facet of a massive $300 million advertising campaign on the part of the Redmond-based software giant aimed at cleaning up the tarnished image of Windows Vista.



In an email to employees recently, Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer also revealed that the company will be changing the way it works with hardware vendors to mimic the experience offered by Apple in which there will be "absolutely no compromises."



"In the competition between PCs and Macs, we outsell Apple 30-to-1. But there is no doubt that Apple is thriving," Ballmer wrote in the email. "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."



To this end, Microsoft said it plans to deploy Gurus -- essentially clones of Apple Geniuses -- to approximately 155 Best Buy and Circuit City retails by the end of the year.



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 146
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,471member
    Honestly, I have to admit the Ads are kind of cute, and are funny at times.



    But, I suppose they're trying to duplicate the Seinfeld show, which was as they themselves said, about nothing.



    The Ads also seem to be about nothing.



    Unless they get more focussed later on, I just can't see what good they will do.



    And I'm trying to look at this seriously, as a former Ad man, without making the usual Microsoft jokes.
  • Reply 2 of 146
    sandausandau Posts: 1,230member
    I don't see any Vista promotion at all. I don't get it.



    On the other hand, it was fun to watch, kind of like the 'internal' MS videos.
  • Reply 3 of 146
    They're still working overtime to polish that turd, aren't they?
  • Reply 4 of 146
    They should really fire their ad agency. While the ads are kind of dorky/cute.... they completely miss the mark. Just more proof that MS doesn't give a crap about it's users..... and why I, Thank God.... USE A MAC!



    Just another half-ass attempt by microsoft to be cool. Which will never be the true no matter how many billions of dollars Gates spends. If he actually gave a crap about the POS product (software) his company put out then maybe he'd have a chance. Gates is a great marketer and seer of opportunities.... but he's selling a Yugo in a Honda box..... It's always been that way... and I suspect it always will be.... Until they start seeing a major drop in market share then maybe they'll wake up.
  • Reply 5 of 146
    panupanu Posts: 135member
    Okay, so Jerry meets Bill in the shoe store and takes him home to meet the family. Notice that Jerry has no wife. I can't wait to see who's invited to Bill and Jerry's wedding in California.
  • Reply 6 of 146
    I have to admit that the mass hating on a pretty awesome ad campaign is a bit silly.



    To be honest, I think that this may be the best product MS has put together in 10 years (not that I'm thinking of anything from ten years ago)... I really like the ads, they're much more fun than some hyperactive nutjob screaming about his furniture and eating raw onions (don't ask, but they're real ads).
  • Reply 7 of 146
    Must... Buy.... PC....
  • Reply 8 of 146
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,594member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iCarbon View Post


    I have to admit that the mass hating on a pretty awesome ad campaign is a bit silly.



    To be honest, I think that this may be the best product MS has put together in 10 years (not that I'm thinking of anything from ten years ago)... I really like the ads, they're much more fun than some hyperactive nutjob screaming about his furniture and eating raw onions (don't ask, but they're real ads).



    I concur - there is no requirement to hate this campaign out of hand. I was not crazy about the first ad but it was quirky enough to be interesting. The fact that it didn't mention Windows makes sense - they don't need to to. As an intro to the characters it served the second instalment well. The full length version of the second ad is really good. Really well done and very funny. Seinfeld is clearly developing into the MS version of Mac and Gates obviously the MS version of PC. I like that Gates was slightly grumpy and aloof. I like that they play themselves. I love the way they mix with the family. The whole thing is endearing and absurd. The point of this campaign is NOT to sell Vista or MS directly. I am absolutely certain that by the end of the campaign A LOT of people will have a different attitude to MS and what it stands for. In terms of Apple - I suspect the campaign might succeed at making people a tad more cynical about the present Apple ad campaign which essentially paints Apple as god's gift to mankind. Having seen the beginnings of the new MS ad campaign I feel the Apple campaign might soon soon look a smidgen long in the tooth. I totally agree with iCarbon - this is probably the best product MS has produced in a very long time. I would wait a little before attacking the campaign too aggressively if I were you. Give it a little time.
  • Reply 9 of 146
    Are these "regular folks" who use Windows instead of Mac the same people who choose Leno over Letterman, and McCain over Obama? When did mundane become better than elite?
  • Reply 10 of 146
    iqatedoiqatedo Posts: 1,595member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    Honestly, I have to admit the Ads are kind of cute, and are funny at times.



    But, I suppose they're trying to duplicate the Seinfeld show, which was as they themselves said, about nothing.



    The Ads also seem to be about nothing.



    Unless they get more focussed later on, I just can't see what good they will do.



    And I'm trying to look at this seriously, as a former Ad man, without making the usual Microsoft jokes.



    I think that you are right, they are simply building a 'brand' awareness right now for the 'Bill and Jerry show', inoffensive and humorous and ready to lead into more overt messages later on. Notice the reflection at the conclusion of each one, this time it was Seinfeld saying something like:



    'Bill, you've connected over a billion people - I can't help wondering what's next, ...'



    We can!



    All good fun.
  • Reply 11 of 146
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by paxman View Post


    I am absolutely certain that by the end of the campaign ALOT of people will have a different attitude to MS and what it stands for.



    ... and then those users will go and use their error ridden pc.



    Cute commercials (NOT! imho) do not make software that runs.
  • Reply 12 of 146
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    The commercial series 'about nothing' featuring Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld continued Thursday evening with a new segment seemingly about something: Microsoft's ability to 'connect' with ordinary people....



    I think it would be more fair to say that this is what the entire series is about, not just this second one. It's clear for instance that the first advertisement positioned Seinfeld and Gates as just like "ordinary" folk (they like bad food, shop at discount stores, and dumb enough to mix up the names of the planets etc.).



    To me, this second one is (although funny in parts) less successful as an ad and a bit off message. While they explicitly state their purpose in this one (to "connect"), they don't actually seem to do so. They come off as arrogant and distant from the family that eventually throws them out.



    The only thing I found especially delicious about this ad is that it feeds right into Dvorak's interpretation of the first ad as being about "kinky sex." There is yet another leather reference, and Jerry and Bill are now sharing a room that appears to have a single (pink!) bed.
  • Reply 13 of 146
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Magic_Al View Post


    Are these "regular folks" who use Windows instead of Mac the same people who choose Leno over Letterman, and McCain over Obama? When did mundane become better than elite?



    Well "mundane," "ordinary," and "regular" here are all actually code words for "dumb." It is a negative, it's just dressed up in PC language.



    Just as any smart, educated person would in the absence of any other driving factors pick a Mac over a PC, and Obama over McCain. There is no logical or "smart" argument that can be made for doing otherwise. You will also hear Mac users referred to as "sophisticated" users sometimes, which is similar code for "smart and capable."



    These advertisements are a bit offensive to me, but they get away with it because they are aimed at folks that likely won't "get" the fact that they are kinda being made fun of. It's like MS is saying ... "Hey, your not so smart, your not rich, your life kinda sucks in many ways. So you're one of us!" (and should by association use MS products, which are made for folks like you.)
  • Reply 14 of 146
    mr omr o Posts: 1,046member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by paxman View Post


    I concur - there is no requirement to hate this campaign out of hand. I was not crazy about the first ad but it was quirky enough to be interesting. The fact that it didn't mention Windows makes sense - they don't need to to. As an intro to the characters it served the second instalment well. The full length version of the second ad is really good. Really well done and very funny. Seinfeld is clearly developing into the MS version of Mac and Gates obviously the MS version of PC. I like that Gates was slightly grumpy and aloof. I like that they play themselves. I love the way they mix with the family. The whole thing is endearing and absurd. The point of this campaign is NOT to sell Vista or MS directly. I am absolutely certain that by the end of the campaign A LOT of people will have a different attitude to MS and what it stands for. In terms of Apple - I suspect the campaign might succeed at making people a tad more cynical about the present Apple ad campaign which essentially paints Apple as god's gift to mankind. Having seen the beginnings of the new MS ad campaign I feel the Apple campaign might soon soon look a smidgen long in the tooth. I totally agree with iCarbon - this is probably the best product MS has produced in a very long time. I would wait a little before attacking the campaign too aggressively if I were you. Give it a little time.



    ? well said paxman! It is not about the product, but about perception! These ads are so subtle that they will eventually undermine Apple's bragging Mac man vs PC man campaign.



    Remember Apple's "think different" campaign in the mid nineties?! It was right before the iMac and iPod era.
  • Reply 15 of 146
    wallywally Posts: 211member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by paxman View Post


    I concur - there is no requirement to hate this campaign out of hand. I was not crazy about the first ad but it was quirky enough to be interesting. The fact that it didn't mention Windows makes sense - they don't need to to. As an intro to the characters it served the second instalment well. The full length version of the second ad is really good. Really well done and very funny. Seinfeld is clearly developing into the MS version of Mac and Gates obviously the MS version of PC. I like that Gates was slightly grumpy and aloof. I like that they play themselves. I love the way they mix with the family. The whole thing is endearing and absurd. The point of this campaign is NOT to sell Vista or MS directly. I am absolutely certain that by the end of the campaign A LOT of people will have a different attitude to MS and what it stands for. In terms of Apple - I suspect the campaign might succeed at making people a tad more cynical about the present Apple ad campaign which essentially paints Apple as god's gift to mankind. Having seen the beginnings of the new MS ad campaign I feel the Apple campaign might soon soon look a smidgen long in the tooth. I totally agree with iCarbon - this is probably the best product MS has produced in a very long time. I would wait a little before attacking the campaign too aggressively if I were you. Give it a little time.



    Not everyone is hating this campaign "out of requirement". Some people actually don't like the campaign because it doesn't express much at all. "Give it a little more time" is something that that you don't say about any successful ad campaign. The whole point is to express your message concisely within the time you have. Now granted there are funny ads out there that don't address a company's product or service every time (like the Caveman ads for Geico) - that's because they have spent years drilling their message into people - now it's just a matter of keeping the name out there, and having everyone talk about them.



    These ads though aren't that funny. The first one felt extremely lame and this one, while it had it's moments was pointless. I had this nagging "get to the point" feeling throughout. Plus, the whole Jerry Seinfeld treating Bill Gates like the Steven Hawking kind of super-genius seems a bit over-the-top, kind of like Bill paid $300m to tell everyone how smart he is (I know that's not the actual case, but that's the way it comes off to me).



    Anyhow, I just don't see how this is supposed to make everybody feel better about Vista. I think the reason for that is because they haven't done anything different to Vista (like fix some of the problems).
  • Reply 16 of 146
    These ads just get one viewing. After you've seen one do you really need to see it again. They try way to hard to be liked. And Gerry isn't that funny in the ads and Bill can't deliver a line.

    The "gimme a sign" motif at the end may have some potential, but in the end.

    It's a lot of money to spend on being mundane.



    THe only funny thing, and I mean funny sad, is the fact that they're spending 300 million on this campaign.
  • Reply 17 of 146
    With what? I think this sitcom is going to be cancelled.
  • Reply 18 of 146
    I keep on reading people question on where the "vista" tie-in is on these ads. Well... the fact is... and I think its rather obvious from a marketing stand point that these ads are not about a product per se... but rather about a shift in the image perception of Microsoft itself.



    From all that was talked about before the first was released, I too expected a more 'vista' focused assault....



    All in all I am not so sure this campaign will succeed because I believe that the Microsoft image is so set that its going to take a much more global effort that includes product re-focusing and long term product successes to win the battle.
  • Reply 19 of 146
    foo2foo2 Posts: 1,077member
    Gates needs a physical trainer.
  • Reply 20 of 146
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mr O View Post


    … well said paxman! It is not about the product, but about perception! These ads are so subtle that they will eventually undermine Apple's bragging Mac man vs PC man campaign.



    Remember Apple's "think different" campaign in the mid nineties?! It was right before the iMac and iPod era.



    Right. So people bought the iPod because of.... perception?



    It's one thing to come out with a campaign to increase or improve people's perception, but if the product doesn't back it up - what's the point? Why this campaign seems so ridiculous is because Microsoft said that they need to counter Apple's marketing campaign. What has helped make Apple's campaign successful is that the products live up to the commercials.



    Apple's ads have contrasted the ways Mac's work to the PC. Now that a lot of people have access to a Mac store (or equivalent), they can go and check them out for themselves. Microsoft has achieved it's customer base by being the default system on most computers available on the shelf. It's rare that someone walks into a Circuit City or Walmart and asks for a computer with Windows. Mac users on the other hand are users by choice which involves jumping a few hurdles at times, but people do it because they trust the product. Microsoft is attributing Apple's success to "good marketing" and so are trying to counter with good marketing on there own. I don't see that it's "good" yet, but in order for Microsoft to successfully change people's minds about their products, they will need to improve them tremendously.
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