Seinfeld And Gates Star In Blockbuster Flop

gatesseinfeld

Unlike the Mac vs. PC ads that have such broad appeal, the Seinfeld/Gates commercials deserve mention only for the money spent and their lack of funny. If this campaign is meant to attract the young and hip, Microsoft has missed the mark.

Jerry and Bill have only served to cement Microsoft as typical of the character portrayed by John Hodgman of Mac vs. PC fame. The “big headed” minds (see Burger King ads) of those designing this campaign only confirm that Jerry and Bill are both loaded to the gills, don’t relate, and have nothing in common with most of us. That’s not funny, it just true. Seinfeld had its run but its been over for a while now and the current Jerry doesn’t do much but collect cars and remind people of his past success. (Larry King Interview) Oh, I almost forgot the Bee movie.

Bill, while interesting in interviews, has the humor of a shark attack. The ad was released on a Thursday and was immediately followed by Microsoft calling reporters on Friday to explain the ad. Any comedian knows that if you have to explain it, it didn’t work.

Perhaps the Crispin, Porter, and Bogusky ad agency responsible for this mess, can put together something about Jerry being a flip-flopper. Yes, you heard me, flip-flopper. Take a look at this Apple ad using a clip of Jerry to sell Mac. Obviously money is the driving force for Jerry, but that seems to be what MS wants to emphasize.
“Wouldn’t it be great to put two rich and powerful people, however awkward and painful, together in one commercial?” The answer, of course, is “No”.

The truth is that Intel can’t ignore Macs recent successful ads and needs to stop some of the bleeding caused by poor consumer perception and a chronically unpopular operating system. Vista and poor acceptance go hand in hand. Whether the recent SP1 release has helped it’s functionality might be debatable but the preception by the general public is still the same.

Sorry Microsoft it just doesn’t play. Spend some of those billions on a therapist to find out why you can’t put together a successful ad campaign.

Lots-o-Money but you Got-no-Funny.

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* As an added footnote Microsoft announced that it was pulling the Seinfeld/Gates commercials as we were sending this newsletter. Smart move MS.

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35 thoughts on “Seinfeld And Gates Star In Blockbuster Flop

  1. Ads are a joke. Especially the new “I’m a PC” ads. Good idea, but does nothing for the Windows brand. Just PCs. Well, a Mac is a PC (personal Computer). It can also run Windows (if you need that abomination). They could do better buy spending $300M in Apple stock especially at it’s current bargain price.

    Oh, and to those who cry about Macs being too expensive and how they can’t “beat” PCs… Bentleys are more expensive than Hondas, yet Honda outsells Bentley. Does that mean Bentley has to lower their price to be ‘better’ than Honda? Gimme a break. A Mac is superior in every way from construction to OS. While you’re at it, take a look at the market share numbers. Someone’s gaining ground.

  2. First time I saw the ad was on adultswim on cartoonnetwork late at night. Great placement guys. First time I saw it and where I saw it I thought is was a spoof, a joke. Next time I saw the ad was on CNBC and the more I thought about these two titans of wealth I began to question what is exactly the ad saying to me? Is MS trying to say its product Windows has been in more homes than say a “Mac”? Jerry says to Bill he is in over a Billion homes. What percentage of those homes are Macs? It is not important, I use a PC and I have friends that use Macs and we all are still friends. I think the later ad by MS with who uses a PC was sort of okay but for an ad, okay does not cut it for the “wow” factor. Robert

  3. The bottom line, PC’s still outsell Mac. It doesn’t matter what you advertise people will go with what works for them and unless you are in the film post production business, you don’t need a mac. Mac Hardware is overpriced and until it comes down to what average people can afford it won’t ever beat PC…no matter who stars in the commercials.

  4. Hey Tom,

    Your missive; “Or proof-read your stuff?” is a fragmented sentence. You just threw a rock through your glass house. Rock throwing is crappy behavior unless you are trying to escape from a glass house. According to Dimitri Martin…. Dang another fragment… DANG! Did it again… got more fragments than a glass house someone just escaped from.

  5. holy cow! you guys dont have anything better to do than this.

    this is called advertising…it has been around a while. they cant all be winners. but you guys sure can whine.

    microsoft and apple are two of a kind. they both sell stuff..that kind of does what it is supposed to.

    how many of you have bought an IPOD only to have it die within the first week. Apple aint perfect.

  6. When it’s all said and done both PC and Mac are good for what they are. The PC has made it’s place in history and has earned it’s place in the future. Mac has appealed to the new generation of users by making a machine to “play” on more that a serious machine for business use. Which is why it now runs Microsoft Office. It all depends on the software you want to run and the use of the computer.
    To totally bash either is just a futile attempt to push your preferences onto someone else. All OS’s have problems when released into a multimillion user environment that just cannot be known beforehand. The people that bash Vista are undoubtedly the same people that do not allow the error reports to be sent back so that the problem can be resolved.
    I would say just work with either company to help make either system as good as it can be. Competition keeps pricing down and standards high which is always to the benefit of all of us, the End User.

  7. Well, I found the ad mildly amusng (although, I changed channels when I frst encountered it on TV). I got a much greater charge off of Conrad W. Paul who must miss the good old days of Republican excess wthout accountabilty.

    Pardon me, I dgress.

  8. I will use XP until a needs exists to change…..which is not forseen.

    I will continue to ride the APPLE stock from roller coaster ( 120’s to the 180’s) until I have too much money………which is not forseen.

  9. I thought the Microsoft commercials were great and the acting was really funny! My teenage daughter really likes them too – she thinks both Bill Gates and Jerry Sienfeld are hysterical. I think these series of ads will grow on everyone. Can’t wait to see the sequels. (Hope the footnote above, stating that Microsoft was pulling these ads, was an incorrect statement).

  10. I also have to agree with MicHael H. It may not have been as funny as some of the Sienfeld skits we are all use to, but it sure beat out the over-kill of the Mac versus PC ads. They got to become quite boring we seen them so often. I am just sorry to hear we won’t be seeing any more of Gates and Sienfeld together. I actually liked them together over the past TV ads.
    I have been using XP-Pro with SP3 and having no major problems so far. As for Vista, glad I never bought it. I say keep XP-Pro, and improve on it !! You already have a good platform to work with.

  11. I think these commercials are great! Much better than the Mac vs. PC, which can be boring, slow and just simply not interesting. I love Jerry’s one liners, with him having so “many cars I get stuck in my own traffic”, and Bill with leftovers for dinner, “didn’t we have this last night” is fantastic! Make more! These guys are great. Hats off to the person that thought of doing this. Keep them coming!

  12. LOL, when I made the commercial analogy between the Gates/Sienfeld and the Mojave Experiment commercials, I wasn’t agreeing with the commercial. I was simply stating the Mojave one was more animated, I still don’t agree with Vista as per my reasons of it is still a memory and hard drive hog, and I have not heard if the SP1 patch still fixed the RDP Connect issue, which the same issue is in the XP SP3 as well. I will not put SP3 on my XP Pro machine till they get it to be able to use the console setting again. As I said, the RDP Connect I use does have the console connect function in it and is a valuable tool when you host websites, games, and VoiP communications on a online webserver, and need access to the consoles on connect. But my main issue with Vista is it is still a memory and hard drive hog, that is the main reason the new computers come with the bigger hard drive and a lot more memory, if you look at the recomended for the O/S you can see this, I have used Vista, and don’t like that to use it properly you need 1 Gig of memory at minimum to use it. And at 1 gig it is as sluggish as trying to fly an airplane at full speed with the flaps and landing gear down. But if you install 2 to 4 Gig of memory, the flight smoothes out, because you are retracting the landing gear and putting the flaps to neutral. That is about the best analogy I can think of on how Vista acts and runs. Yes it has bells and whistles and other things that look pretty, but I like a system that is stable and can still use programs effeciantly, most programs that are out there don’t work well with Vista unless you tweek it and have to set compatabilities backward manually, which is a pain to setup for a lot of programs that won’t work on Vista untill you do set the compatabilities for the programs individually. That is just my feelings on Vista Vs XP, I also use Linux and Unix, which with out a shadow of a doubt, are far better than Windows period, Windows is an easy to use interface that anyone can use, especially non techies. It is just to me, XP is the better of the two evils.

  13. I have never written on one of these before am not an expert but I seem to remember the same things being said about all the Windows versions since I started using PC’s. I personally liked Windows 98SE, I did not even like the look of Me which I never used nor 2000 which I did use on other people’s PC’s. Then XP came along and I remember the same things being said about it as is now being said about Vista. It is not a critisism of what people have been saying but now people are saying how much they like XP. I changed to Vista Ultimate in March this year really liked the new design and look of it it installed without trouble but then I found that many of my programmes wouldn’t work properly. In the end I contacted the software companies and eventually Microsoft support. I have to say without exception everybody I have spoken with by email or on the telephone (after the frist call Microsoft called me so there was not even a call to pay for) have been very helpful. I have to say I was all for throwing the Laptop out of the window on several occasions and it has been frustrating at times. I now have Vista SP1 installed and everything seems to be working without any problems at all and I have an internet friend in India from Microsoft. I use IE7, Firefox, and Safari and all seem to have similar problems and advantages.

  14. Um-m-m-m . . . what did Microsoft have to do with those “commercials”? One of them was selling shoes, and the other one was selling mustard and podiatry.

    Please don’t tell me that intelligent people had a meeting and decided to throw huge amounts of money at those two skits in order to promote . . . Microsoft like that. That’s impossible. I refuse to believe it. I won’t. It can’t happen. No frikken way. No, no, no, no, no. Nuh-uh. Nope. Sorry-y-y-y.

  15. I saw the two ads being panned here. Watching Jerry use Bill as a straight man was ‘cute’, but the Mojave ad was ultra-LAME. I mean, getting non-techies to Ooo over some unseen graphics on an unknown system and then saying at the end, “It’s really Vista” is nothing more than the FUD we have been getting from MS for years! If a group of techies (validated) were to say the same thing, I would be impressed, but not what was shown. Showing someone who had never seen a computer (nor used one) the Areo Screen would impress and comments like “ooo, that’s nice” easily captured. Almost as bad as the current crop of political ads, if you know what I mean.

  16. Well come to think of it, I have to tend to agree with MicHaeL H, on the commercial, in its own way it was funny, just not like I am used to with Sienfeld, and to me XP Pro is the best, and will always be, as long as I do not put SP3 on it, the last time I did that, it messed up my RDP Connect, I have mine setup to use the console function, which the RDP 6 uses well. The RDP Connect in SP3 will not use it, so on my online server, it will not let me access the program consoles that my programs on the server run. Basically what the console function does, is if you have programs that have control consoles in them, it connects and automatically opens the consoles for access. When you host Websites and Games, it comes in very handy to control things at once, without having to continually open them yourself.

    Until I get the same thing out of SP3 or Vista, I will stick to my XP Pro, with SP2.

  17. I thought all three ads were hilarious.
    I’m an “older” person too and totally got what they were putting across.
    Too bad there won’t be more of them.

  18. The Vista commercials, are sad… The fat head in the MAC commercials are also sad remnant of what was a good short series of commercials… They are now like a worn rug everyone has walked upon for years, and never noticed any longer…

    When I first saw the Mojave commercial, it was after several of my business customers told me, they thought it was early advertising of the lean Windows 7, with all the XP driver support that was promised.

    A good number of my customers are rapidly exploring the open source area, because they have seen the fancy window7 eye candy craplets on U tube, and know it is now not going to work in the average office computer built in 2003/2004 with 256 MB of memory and a 20/40 gig hard drive…

    I have been working up open source presentation, and will hire open source staff and assist companies choose a replacement O/S because these companies have held on to these systems and money is to tight to upgrade…

    I do not see the small – mid size companies replacing hardware to run Microsoft eyecandy with few drivers available to support the thousands of devices that are currently in use…

    The Seinfeld And Gates commercials do not work, and it is sad Microsoft has little to sell that people or the business community can get excited about…

    JR

  19. I have to agree with MicHaeL H. It is good to see Bill out there trying to act. Then again maybe he isn’t trying to act, but just be himself. Whatever. However, I can’t see what all the fuss is over Vista. I use both XP Professional and Vista Home whatever, and I don’t have any trouble with either. I bought Vista for a new machine I had assembled and had no trouble installing and tweaking. Anybody that is having difficulties with it should probably consider going back to an IBM Selectric, a pair of scissors and some paste.

    I use it for office work, gaming, digital photography and video editing. I think I have given it a pretty good workout, and so far it has performed with very few annoyances.

    As for those of you who like to complain about Microsoft, never have I dealt with a company that provides better customer support than Microsoft. I have purchased Microsoft product from the store only to find when I got home that it was on a media that my system did not support. (Quite awhile ago, 3 1/2 floppy, all I had was 5 1/4). I called Microsoft, and the next morning a courier delivered my product. No charge. The courier cost was higher than the amount I paid for the product as I purchased it on sale.

    XP SP3, caused me untold trouble. I contacted Microsoft and a few techs spent hours with me in an attempt to make it work. When they were unable to fix the problem, they gave me a short program that prevented SP3 from installing in an automatic update. Then emailed me when the problem had been resolved.
    Everything worked out fine.

    Microsoft is making a lot of money simply because they provide a decent product and support it beyond belief.

    Mac’s are nice, and have a lot of features, but if you don’t need it why pay through the nose for it and the software that indeed makes it good.

  20. Does no one there understand correct English? Or proof-read your stuff?

    “That’s not funny, it just true.” How about “it’s” or “it is?”

    “The truth is that Intel can’t ignore Macs recent successful ads ” Maybe a possessive “Mac’s” or even “Macs'” would look less illiterate.

    You may be hip and smart, but you’re obviously not very intelligent.

  21. I like the commercials too. Maybe it wasn’t meant to be funny. It was meant to make people think and get your attention. It seems to be doing its job because its got eveyone on this site talking about it. What is this? your asking your selfs. It doesn’t matter positive or negative out come on your thought on the comercials, ” Its got your attention!” Its like a car reck you can’t stop looking. What the hell just happen.

  22. Well, I like it.
    But that’s probably from an artistic point of view.

    I just love when like these “big people” just clash together and work together and create something like a commercial or act.
    And I don’t even care if it turns out good or bad.
    It’s just nice to see, OK you have this big comedian and this billionaire-head of a huge company trying to make a funny campaign.
    And Bill Gates trying to act, come on, it’s all just good fun and it’s just nice to see you know.

    So yeah, I’m not even talking about the goal behind it and that it failed and also the money that goes through it.
    It’s just at least nice to see people like these don’t feel themselves too good to NOT do it.
    People would hate Bill Gates so much more if he would just always stay in a priceless suit and not try a thing.

  23. I agree the figuring out the Gates – Seinfeld commercials is not easy. The guys on TWIT have had a go round, John C Dvorak, like many think that they are pretty stupid. Personally they are still better than the Political clap trap commercials.

    Jim

  24. Talk about stupid, how about those PC Apple adds. I am really getting sick of them. It shows Apple can’ sell their product without lying and knocking the PC (Vista). I have used Vista for almost 2 years now and am having no problems with it. I believe most of the complaints are from those who try to use it on an old or cheap machine.

  25. Vista is like a boeing 757. It’s an incredible machine but you need to read the manual before you can fully appreciate it.
    If you don’t like the Gates/Seinfeld commercials then you just don’t get humor. They’re absolutely hilarious, and so are the Mac ads. Relax and smile. Sheesh. Don’t take life so seriously.

  26. I find these commercials rather funny. I’m also 20, a techie with hardware but hey its the internet, in a free society anyone can rant.

  27. I found the Bill & Jerry’s spot humerous and much more entertaining than those Mac ads. the Mac v PC adds are as weak & annoyying as the Obama/Demoncap ads and the XP ludite factor: just pure whinning and throwing rocks at jets cruising at 32k feet (about as effective).

  28. From a “regular joe”, non-techie person, these commercials are hilarious. Regardless of all the good Bill Gates has done for the world, he also can act! Somehow I think it wasn’t acting, but really him. He is a genuine nerd, and that ads to the funny-ness. I think the commercial is great!

  29. I think it may be an age thing. I’m older than many people that use computers. I got this commercial from the beginning and liked the humor. Yet, I like the Mac ad, because it pulls the tiger’s tail.

  30. Your reference to Jerry being a flip-flopper because Mac used a short clip of him in that commercial is not cognizant. Are we also to believe Gandhi, Picasso, Ali, MLK also endorsed Mac because their images appeared? I think not. When Seinfeld created the sit-com, it was ground breaking and at the top of its field in influence. That is all that was being said. “The crazy ones.”

  31. So how did it finish? I couldn’t take any more and turned it off at 1:09 – can’t believe there was still three minutes left.

  32. Sure, I saw the Mojave commercial but let’s not overlook the fact that it was staged BY Microshaft. Of course it came out to look the way they wanted it to. Fact remains, Vista is 99% BAD, imho. I’ve had it for a year and still hate almost everything about it. Let’s go back to XP!

  33. You are right, the video wasn’t really funny and who could get the point of it, until the end, even then it was like,Huh? Although I still use Windows, I still have doubts going to Vista, mainly because to me it is a hard drive and ram hog, if they can fix this with it, then I have no real issues with it, providing the SP1 patch really works.

    Have you guys seen the Mojave commercial yet, where the people think they are looking at the new operating system for Microsoft called Mojave, then find out it is really Vista. I think that commercial did way better than Jerry and Bill did.

  34. Sorry but are we talking about marketing here or actual technicallities and facts? Vista yes is useless to the PC community because it is essentialialy a Moc clone OS, PC users, or the ones that would voice an opinion anyway, are techies, my rececent but limited experience of Vista has prompted frustration, why is it so hard to get to …. where is …. because I am so use to getting to the nut’s and bolts of things, Gates and co transitioned us well through win3.1 to win98, to win2k, to XP then they felt threatened by mac and co, and I don’t know why!!! Apple have been telling us for years how techically superior the Mac is to a PC, while slowly morphing the Mac through IDE type bus, USB etc, intel cpu instead of the vastly superior (at least some years ago) motorola cpu, till to all intents and purposes a Mac is now a Wintel PC capable of running Windows, hats off to the folks at Intel that did this without MS kicking up sh1t!

    But essentially how can you trust Apple? they have been lying for years, Gates at least has been honest, although he is still a money grabbing bar steward. I put my trust in the company that make my data most accessible. Right now Apple don’t touch MS, I have experimented with Sun Solaris (who f^ck#d me over hardware / software and have p1ss p00r customer service, am evaluating Ubuntu and various other Unix / Linux flavors, but don’t try to push Mac on me, it is simply pushing one uncaring inaccessible market tyrant on me over another.

    Hey, maybe I will have my team develop our own OS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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