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
    Ima Fish, 5 Sep 2008 @ 3:30pm

    It's not supposed to be funny

    This ad is not supposed to be funny. It's intentionally absurd. That what gets people talking about it.

    That's exactly why Seinfeld became such a hit. The show initially tanked. No one watched it. However those fans that did talked about "what was that about last night on Seinfeld?" at work the next day.

    People who were not used to the show initially thought, "What's the big deal about Seinfeld, the show makes no sense? There's no plot, there's no action, there's no character development, it's just a bunch nothing, and then it ends."

    But after you watch it a while, you get hooked into it because it is about nothing. You don't care if Elaine and Jerry get together. You don't care if George finds true love or finds a real job. It's not that type of show. It was a show about nothing. But it made millions of people tune in every Thursday to see more of nothing.

    Now, back to the ad. Think about it, this ad received more free exposure than a normal ad ever could. For that I consider it a complete success.

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