Microsoft Seinfeld Ad Not Exactly a Hit

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The first of those Jerry Seinfeld/Bill Gates Microsoft commercials has made its way into the public eye – an eye that most wish had remained closed. Microsoft’s attempt to bring some humor into their advertising campaign, and presumably to outdo the Justin Long Mac commercials, has been met with an overwhelming amount of criticism.

While I’m sure there are some out there who enjoyed the commercial, it’s almost as if it were met with a collective thumbs down from reporters and bloggers ‘netwide. Before I go any further, take a minute to view the clip yourself if you haven’t yet. Ok, it’s closer to a minute and a half, which doesn’t help its cause either, but here you go.

For one, it’s hard to tell what Microsoft is even trying to push with this ad. For two, it’s just not funny. This is only opinion of course, but as I said, it’s a very popular one. It’s not a matter of just not being into Seinfeld’s brand of humor. I (as I’m sure a great many other critics are) am a big fan of the show Seinfeld. It’s a matter of just plain annoying advertising.

I am the type of person who is very easily annoyed with commercials when they are played frequently (this is especially a problem for me as football season gets underway), and the thought of having to sit through this as often as the Mac commercials does not bring a smile to my face. That’s really the least funny part about the ad. Granted, I’m sure the ad will be trimmed from its minute-and-a-half form for regular television airplay, but that doesn’t really change a whole lot.

This isn’t just a rant about why I don’t like this commercial. The news here is that Microsoft has spent a ton of money (about $300 million) on this new advertising campaign, and nobody seems to like it. Here are some examples:

"Seinfeld’s first commercial starring Bill Gates is out — shot in a mall shoe store — and it’s not going to help Microsoft look any cooler," says Dan Frommer at Silicon Alley Insider.

"Personally, I’m not convinced this is starting on on the right foot. My wife initially saw the commercial this evening and her response was basically ‘I don’t get it.’ It’s one thing to try to be ‘hip’, but it’s another thing to try but completely fail at getting your message across. The attempt at humor is a nice change, though," says Josh Pigford at The Apple Blog (emphasis added).

Jackson West at Valleywag writes, "The whole production says ‘quirky,’ not slick or cool, but then Windows Vista is full of maddening quirks."

Gizmodo’s Jason Chen says, "In fact, there’s not really a whole lot of anything, including laughs, information or pimping of Vista. It’s kinda like Seinfeld’s really long, really rambling Superman ad for Amex he did a few years back. We hope the rest of the campaign is better."

You get the idea. Some people haven’t given up on the campaign entirely. This is only the first ad in a series that will likely feature other celebrities. Maybe they will get better. For the record, I find the Mac commercials annoying too. 

Microsoft Seinfeld Ad Not Exactly a Hit
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  • http://www.e-commercewebdesign.co.uk Adam – E-commerce Web Design

    I think the advert is quite funny (the first time) and unique, but I can’t see how this will promote Microsoft’s products, or even just Windows as it seems to be from the end of the commercial.

    It’s only getting this amount of critisism because it involves Bill Gates and teh geeks aren’t happy.


  • http://www.yomi11.com Olatokunbo Gbolade

    I don,t see anything wrong with the advert.

  • Chris Crum

    As the day has gone forward, I have seen more people come out and say they like the ad (besides the comments here), but the negative opinions still far outweigh the positive.

    • http://www.yomi11.com Olatokunbo Gbolade

      It really doesn,t matter how many people think negatively about the AD it doesn,t negate the fact that it is still quite a funny ad.

  • http://www.louisianamotorcycleaccident.com/ Marc

    This is why its not good to be surrounded by "yes men."  I thought it was a bit funny, but all the hype leading up to it made it seem like it was going to be the best commercial ever. 

  • Guest

    I thought it was ok. I don’t think I’ll be believing any Apple/MAC ads after I got to use a mac and experienced hype over substance.

    Hey, the ad had Seinfeld and Gates in it, I’m happy!

    • http://robertperlberg.com/ perl

      As someone who has had to support both Windows and Mac, I feel that both systems have serious flaws, but at least Mac is based on better technology, they just need to refine the implementation.  I like the Mac ads because every ad tells you something substantive about the product and why it’s better than Windows.  The Seinfeld ad says absolutely nothing about the product and doesn’t even mention a product at all.  I had to see it a few times before I even realized it was a Microsoft ad.  At first I thought it was an ad for a shoe store.  I liked the Seinfeld/Superman ads and they, like the Mac ads, actually mentioned the product and demonstrated its benefits.

  • Guest

    …. and even the humorless geeks reading WebProNews are talking about it, which is all the marketing people really want…

  • Guest

    It’s Seinfeld stupid! You net bloggers are so out of touch with the real world. Get up and go outside every once in awhile and see what’s all about..

  • http://www.danholmes.com Guest

    I laughed out loud twice very hard during the ad. Seinfeld is still funny, and Gates plays up to his role of being a real droll geek.  Very funny.

  • Guest

    Why any one with a Brain thinks this is not funny is simple, Bill Gates is Known to most in the Computer Circles as the Thief who stole from Steve Jobs, His Friend!

    He still looks like a Thief and acts like a Thief, so Not Funny.

    A Rich Liar who made his Fortune Stealing from Others.

    It reminds Everyone that our Current administration is NOTHING BUT CRIMINALS LIKE BILL,[the THIEF] GATES!

    Who wants to support or have to look at the face of a successful THIEF!

    • JCannon

      OK Yes Gates stole the idea (and most of the code) from Jobs, I will agree with that. But what most overlook is the fact that Jobs STOLE the damn thing from xerox in the first place. And you dont see xerox bitching, they got over it and so should you, or at least learn a thing or two about what you are talking about. And Besided Gates has made a product over the years that even my grandmother can use, I am a linux man myself, but the fact that kids can access the wealth of information that is on the internet is partly b/c of microsoft. B/c if you want to get technical all Apple did was give up on programming there own OS, scrapped it, and then made a pretty gui for UNIX. So if you want to talk innovation, Microsoft gets the gold in PC’s, Linux Gets the Gold in Servers, and Mac takes a back seat to both.

      SORRY but cry on a Mac forum, maybe the’ll with have sympathy for you.


      But all this is irrelivent, the AD was kinda funny, it shows the world that Gates is Human.

      • http://robertperlberg.com/ perl

        I think Xerox did try to sue Apple at one point.  The point is, the bosses at Xerox never supported the GUI project and had no intention of developing it into a commercial product, so they lost fair and square.  Gates stole from Jobs as a result of them working together on a commercial product they both believed in.

    • Guest

      Cough, cough… Xerox, cough, cough.

  • Guest

    That commercial is really funny.  You’ll probably have to watch the whole series of commercials to get it though.  I personally hate microsoft products, but I enjoyed the commercial.  Looks like Bill Gates has a sense of humor enough to rip on himself.

  • http://www.sporkmarketing.com Jason Lancaster

    It’s pretty obvious to me this is one in a series of ads, where the "delicious future" will at some point be linked to Vista. Or something. In any case, it’s too early to tell how effective this campaign will become. This ad, by itself, isn’t terribly funny or purposeful. However, if the "conquistador" brand shoe and the "circus club card" are called back in later commercials, I see the potential for humor and advertising.

  • http://www.terrasofta.com Desenex Burger

    "I’ve got an idea for the commercial. NOTHIN’.Everybody is doing something, we’ll do nothing."

  • Guest

    it was pretty funny actually….i have to say i do not own a tv though. hahha.

    i wonder is they are trying to hype up windows 7.


  • http://www.BattlesZone.com/ Brian

    It was nothing particularly brilliant, but I liked it…and so did most of my friends who saw it. I enjoyed the fact that Bill poked fun at himself with the widely circulated "mug shot" photo on his discount membership card, and I think he’s done a pretty good job of appearing not to take himself too seriously, which is refreshing. After all, the guy is mainly a massively smart techno-geek who figured out how to make a fortune off designing marketing operating system software and applications, something no one would have dreamed about 25+ years ago. And, like most ubergeeks, he was once quite socially inept, but seems to have got the hang of people skills a bit more over the years (I’m sure Melinda coached him a bit…and you sure can’t complain about the billions they now pump into the B&M Gates Foundation). It’s a sort of brain-free default philosophy to always complain about how rich people are evil blah blah blah, but IMHO, I honestly believe that Gates has always felt it was more about the technology and his vision, for better or worse, and the money was priority 2. And I think the guy HAS made computing easier and more accessible to millions of people, even with whatever flaws MS software may have. And yeah, some people have gone out of business or claim to have been screwed by Bill and/or MS, but to a great degree, that’s part of the capitalism game. I’m not a mindless Bill Gates fack, just trying to keep an open mind and I don’t think he’s a bad person at all. And I think this ad is more about trying to "friendly up" his and his company’s image than to sell any one specific product.



    • http://robertperlberg.com/ perl

      So Gates is spending millions of dollars to try to get people to like him.  How pathetic is that?

  • Guest

    Anyone who thinks this aggravating waste of time is funny

    is probably one of the morons who still thinks bushleague

    is a good president.

    /Just goes to show how many misfits are running loose.

  • Guest

    I like the commercial too. I think its about time Microsoft attempted some humor  and mind you its not as funny as some of the Mac commercials but to see Bill Gates shake his butt did make me chuckle.


    Like you said, its a matter of personal opinion.

  • http://www.flexoweb.com snt

    You are right, its personal opinion.  I didn’t like it because it isn’t that funny and doesn’t attempt to send a clear message to the viewer through humor (in my opinion).  Some people like the mac commercial, but for me the concept sounds very stupid, but mac users belong to the Mac Users Cult.

  • Guest

    Haha, they are agreeing in public that vista sucks!!

  • Guest

    How come no one remembers the 9 years of Seinfeld where a Mac computer sat on his desk in the corner the whole time the show was on the air.

  • http://www.kennychronicles.com Garrett

    The main problem with it is that it doesn’t have much of a message. The only message I got from it is that Microsoft has exciting plans in its pants. Well, so does Apple, and so does any other company. They don’t convey why we should be excited about it too. In fact, Bill doesn’t seem any extra excited about it himself.

  • 2150

    I don’t liked it, maybe is about nothing???, since it’s not related to windows anyway (the product), but since people are talking about it is a bit effective, now maybe the next ad will feature more substance, anyway most of us are not gonna switch to Vista on an ad, not even if it features the Girls from Playboy, I still use XP at office and at home (SP3). Also I dont know who the target for this ad is, do you???.

  • http://www.impressivewebs.com Louis

    The majority of people will not like the commercials, because the majority of people do not like Bill Gates (i.e. they are biased, and their opinion doesn’t matter).

    I think it’s good to see Gates do something different, and there’s nothing wrong with trying to compete with the Mac ads. Television commercials are rarely funny, since they get in the way of the material we’re actually trying to watch.

  • Guest

    Its so funny how you people complain! What would you rather have, a typical borring commerical? Atleast the first time I saw it, I was entertained! I cant say that about most commercials!



  • http://www.redtube.eu Guest

    Bill Gate is really smart person

  • http://www.nutsaboutsprouts.co.uk/ Guest

    Bad directing, poor timing and too many jokes that fell flat. Like what did the size 10 mention mean? He said it twice but it seemed to mean nothing and had no real response from Bill. If it means the size of his wang might also be big then I’d say it failed completely. Bill’s an okay guy but he sucks at acting. They needed a more distractions, movement, to get away from the fact that Bill can’t act. I could hear a pin drop when I watched most of it and that left Bill and the actor guy carrying the whole add. Whoever wrote the dialogue needs shooting too. The should have gone for something more funky and with the times. I hated the Mac adverts too so no user preference there.

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