Microsoft taps Seinfeld to help battle Apple in new ad campaign

in General Discussion edited January 2014
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.



  • Reply 1 of 145
    "Headquartered in Miami and Boulder [Colorado]" and not just Miami-based.
  • Reply 2 of 145
    amac4meamac4me Posts: 282member
    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?
  • Reply 3 of 145
    dimmokdimmok Posts: 359member
    Say it isnt so it isnt so.....
  • Reply 4 of 145
    God talk about two has beens...

    And two geeks...

    Yeah that commercial is SURE to be a hit
  • Reply 5 of 145
    zzcoopzzcoop Posts: 28member
    Damn you, Seinfeld!

    I don't think Microsoft actually outsells Apple 30 to 1. I think Ballmer just likes ringing that bell.
  • Reply 6 of 145
    magic_almagic_al Posts: 325member
    Does this mean that, for enough money, Seinfeld would leave Superman for Iron Man?
  • Reply 7 of 145
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 145
    backtomacbacktomac Posts: 4,579member
    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.
  • Reply 9 of 145
    j-sheaj-shea Posts: 10member
    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.
  • Reply 10 of 145
    Seems they are doing what Apple did several years ago with Jeff Goldblum. I wonder if Seinfeld was part of the "Mojave Experiment". lol
  • Reply 11 of 145
    jonypjonyp Posts: 5member
    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!!!

    The Seinfeld "Think Different" ad was shown only once, during the series finale of Seinfeld
  • Reply 12 of 145
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 145
    dogcowdogcow Posts: 713member
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 145
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 145
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    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??
  • Reply 16 of 145
    nceencee Posts: 857member
    "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

  • Reply 17 of 145
    Seinfeld is sooo yesterday. I guess it fits perfectly with Windows, an OS about nothing.

  • Reply 18 of 145
    rot'napplerot'napple Posts: 1,839member
    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!"

    Well good luck with MS...
  • Reply 19 of 145
    bageljoeybageljoey Posts: 2,005member
    This is serious. Jobs needs to lock up Wayne Knight (the guy who played Newman) ASAP
  • Reply 20 of 145
    bytorbytor Posts: 31member
    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 brown of course....
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