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So Much Hate For Microsoft's Seinfeld/Gates Buddy Ad

from the what's-wrong-with-it? dept

I wasn't going to comment on Microsoft's new ad campaign featuring Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates buddying around, but the response among the press and bloggers is almost universally negative -- often in extreme ways, and I don't get why there's such a virulent negative reaction. Just a few examples: And that's just a quick sampling that I grabbed in a few seconds. It goes on and on from there. To be honest, I'm not sure I get this massive negative reaction. The ad itself is a little silly and barely mentions Microsoft at all, but isn't that bad at all.
And, to be perfectly frank, you have to think that Microsoft is thrilled with the reaction. It's gotten a ton more people talking about the campaign than any normal ad program, and it actually does a bit to humanize Bill Gates. And, it fits in with what we've been discussing about how advertising needs to be content first and advertising later.

Also, I'm a bit surprised that none of the commentators seem to be comparing this to the very similar efforts that American Express did four years ago also with Jerry Seinfeld. They created a series of "shorts" somewhat similar to the Seinfeld/Gates episode, and people enjoyed them. Is it just because it involves Microsoft that people react so negatively? Already Microsoft has been able to draw people into the storyline (even if negatively), and it can now use future episodes to continue to entertain and educate. That seems like a good thing, not something to be so widely trashed.

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  1. identicon
    david, 6 Sep 2008 @ 11:29am

    An Ad About Nothing

    Why should we be surprised that this first ad is all about a couple characters and otherwise about nothing at all? Isn't that the whole premise that made Seinfeld a household name? No, the 90 seconds were enjoyable and funny in a silly sort of giggle at the two funny men way and it is getting lots of attention.

    If the whole intent is getting attention and getting us talking, it has succeeded and I guess Microsoft must subscribe to the theory that any attention is good attention. I'm not so sure. Can all this negativity be forgotten as new spots are aired or has this set the tenor that Microsoft will find itself fighting through? By the time Microsoft gets around to telling me why I should install Vista on top of my already just good enough WinXP, am I really going to care what Jerry and Bill are telling me? I'm thinking not. But Microsoft, surprise me. That's the one thing you've failed to do in the last 20 years.

    Microsoft cannot avoid being compared to Apple - that is how Microsoft and Apple have framed the conversation for years. And look at the reality. Apple has an application store for the iPhone, Microsoft is now building an application store for its phones. Apple has a media device, Microsoft had to make one. Apple has a song and video store, Microsoft has one. Apple has created brand recognition through the use of human story tellers now Microsoft looks to be going the same route. And now we learn that Microsoft is even putting WinGurus in stores. How Apple! That all being true, is this spot really how Microsoft should have started?

    I don't think so.

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