Bill Gates + Jerry Seinfeld = What?!!???

September 5, 2008

microsoft.jpgJerry Seinfeld, a huge marketing budget, and well-respected agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky would seem a recipe for success. Unfortunately for Microsoft, which kicked off a $300 million advertising campaign last night, the first commercial debuted to lukewarm reviews.

Microsoft is hoping to improve the image of its Windows Vista operating system and take some of the sting out of those popular “Mac vs. PC” advertisements run by Apple. It hired Seinfeld to help, and the first commercial featured the comedian and Bill Gates at a shoe store.

The problem, it seems, is that many people just didn’t get the commercial.  Here’s a sampling.

“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.” — ZDNet

“Seinfeld and Gates are like The Odd Couple, but awkwardly odd. I have a feeling we’re going to be seeing a lot more of these Jerry and Bill segments. Let’s hope their chemistry improves.” — VentureBeat

“When we first heard that Microsoft was prepping an ad campaign starring Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld I was cautiously optimistic. Gates has a good sense of humor about himself, and Jerry might not be your cup of tea but he can be pretty funny now and again. The first ad has hit TV screens across the nation and… I don’t think I even have words for it.” — MacUser

“Anyone know what this is supposed to do except raise awareness of, well, Jerry?” — Geardiary

Keep an eye on:

  • Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, unknown to most Americans a week ago, nearly matched Barack Obama’s record TV audience with her feisty speech accepting the Republican nomination for vice president, topping 37 million U.S. viewers (Reuters)
  • Nearly one in five US households watches TV programming online, double the number in 2006, a new survey from research organizations TNS and the Conference Board shows (NY Post)
  • A federal judge in Texas delayed ruling until as late as November on whether EchoStar Corp owes TiVo Inc  more damages for infringing on its “Time Warp” digital video recorder technology (Reuters)
  • ESPN is merging video game graphics with real-life sports anchors (NY Times)

(Photo: Reuters)


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Those who expected to see an ad that looked like the PC vs. Mac ads were disappointed. Those who thought the ad would have some mention of Vista were also disappointed. And those who thought the ad would be at least funny were disappointed. This was not the point of the ad. It was a trailer fore a new type of sitcom, called an advertising opera, or “ad opera”.

Posted by Erich Stauffer | Report as abusive

Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates in “Shoe Circus”…

What, you want me to service you here?
Hopefully this video will stay on Youtube for a while. It’s the first spot released in the ad campaign that Microsoft spent US $300 Million on to compete with Apple’s “Mac vs PC” ads.
The f…

Posted by The OSM Blog | Report as abusive

I guess we need see where this one fits into the entire campaign before drawing conclusions.

Posted by bjmc | Report as abusive

C’mon people – lighten up! What’s to “get”? Bill Gates in a shoe circus? He’s a 10! I had to rewind and watch it again, and I laughed, again! It’s time we stopped being so critical and laugh at something for a change…there are quite a few things to chuckle about in this ad. Great job MS!!!

Posted by SBronze | Report as abusive

the ad was forced humor….not funny. no laugh laugh. how can steinfeild put his name on something like this. oh yeah, now i see the light. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. i have respect for both of these guys, but please, please stop the humor!!! even js can’t make gates funny.

Posted by growing young | Report as abusive

What’s with the Mexicano’s looking through the window? What’s with the whole thing? It’s not funny in the least. Microsoft is out of touch- maybe by a decade! Brings me back to the 1990’s. Amazing how they could screw this up this badly.

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I’m no Microsoft fan, and I expected this ad to bomb, but HOLY COW. To me the ad suggests two washed-up professionals (or a retired comedian and the world’s most famous con man) struggling with Alzheimers in a shoe store.

Some have suggested that Bill Gates is not just a little eccentric but a little over the edge. Frankly, I think only a kook would approve such an ad.

I’m definitely going to discuss this ad on my Bill Gates “knol.”

Posted by David Blomstrom | Report as abusive

I loved it. Of course, I have an entire blog dedicated to shoe-related humor and trivia.

Posted by Dave | Report as abusive

I’ve seen this spot several times and while it’s mildly amusing, it mostly leaves the viewer going “WTF?” Tries too hard and misses the mark. Quirky just for the sake of being quirky does not hilarity make. I give it a rating of LUKE WARM.

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