Microsoft Looks to Seinfeld for Advertising Edge

To compete with "that guy from Dodgeball"...

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Microsoft has been looking for a new angle for its advertising campaigns, and may have found a good one. The company has reached a $10 million deal with comedian Jerry Seinfeld to appear in its next slew of commercials.

Microsoft has really been pushing integration concepts lately. A recent example of this is the announced extension of its deal with Novell, which encourages Windows Server integration with SUSE Linux in the workplace. This forthcoming ad campaign shares this kind of mentality. The Wall Street Journal writes:

The new ad effort is expected to use some variation of the slogan "Windows, Not Walls," according to several people familiar with the matter. Those people say the point is to stress breaking down barriers that prevent people and ideas from connecting. The campaign, said to debut Sept. 4, is one of the largest in the company’s history.

The new set of commercials is presumably Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s "PC vs. Mac" ads that feature Justin Long, whose celebrity status is as much a result from the ads as the reason he was hired to do them.

If it’s star power that Microsoft is after, they will certainly have Mac beat in that department. Seinfeld is only the star of perhaps the biggest comedy sitcom of all time.

Some will criticize Seinfeld’s "what’s the deal with blank" humor. "I can hear it now," writes MG Siegler at Venture Beat. "What is the deal with Apple? They don’t sell Apples. Why call themselves that? … Yes, ladies and gentleman, Jerry Seinfeld is Microsoft’s new pitchman."

I think he has moved beyond the "what’s the deal with" jokes at this point. He was even making fun of them himself on the show while it was still on the air. Admittedly, most of Seinfeld – the show’s most humorous parts were likely written by Larry David, but in my opinion, Seinfeld has a more entertaining presence than Justin Long. Purely from an advertising standpoint (I have no interest in turning this into a Mac vs. Windows debate), I think the Seinfeld angle will prove far less annoying than the Justin Long Mac commercials (which are getting pretty tired, by the way).

Bill Gates (who just can’t seem to stay away from his baby) will also appear in the campaign. I wouldn’t rule out other celebrity appearances either, since Microsoft is pouring $300 million into it.

The new campaign will roll out on September 4th, just in time to be played a billion times throughout the American football season. Time will tell if the commercials will prove successful for Microsoft, but I think it’s going to take more than celebrities to turn around popular opinion.

Microsoft Looks to Seinfeld for Advertising Edge
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  • http://officialsafetyandsecurity.com Debbie Morgan

    As funny as the Mac commercials are with Justin Long, I still don’t want to buy a Mac.  And, I’m not sure if I was a Mac owner, that having Seinfeld pitch for Microsoft would get me to switch.

    They’re probably targeting people who haven’t purchased a computer yet. If they’re putting $300 million into this campaign, there must be a significant amount of them out there and betting on Seinfeld to reach them.

    Seinfeld sold a lot of things just by using them on his show or having them on the shelf in his kitchen. I’d love it if he pitched my safety and security products. I can dream can’t I?


  • http://www.robfrankel.com Rob Frankel

     This will be the biggest bomb since Hiroshima….for more, read the blog at http://www.robfrankelblog.com !

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