September 18, 2008

Seinfeld sacked.

Those Microsoft ads were just too advanced for us.

UPDATE: Seinfeld not sacked.

34 comments:

Peter V. Bella said...

They should have used Kramer.

Simon said...

The problem is that they just made no sense at all. The mac ads may be kind of silly, but they make sense.

bjm said...

No, they were too Japanese. Americans are accustomed to the hard sell, an ad without a visual product hook doesn't compute.

AJ Lynch said...

Advertising is the lazy company's way to get business.

SteveR said...

Well no matter what, its still Microsoft. Like trying to make the Department of Motor Vehicles cool.

Harwood said...

AJ Lynch said...
Advertising is the lazy company's way to get business.

-----

Kindly favor us with a description of how an energetic Michael Dell could have built his business without advertising his products.

chickenlittle said...

Bottom story of the day. Two thumbs down.

Richard Fagin said...

I suspected Windows Vista was far worse than its already poor reputation when I started seeing Mr. Gates in commercials for it. It is. They used Seinfeld only to yell, "Yada yada yada" at users who still want Windows XP.

dmfoiemjsof said...

What a tough audience - I liked the ads. But unfortunately Microsoft still sucks.

Pastor_Jeff said...

I liked the ads, too.

They were confusing and irrelevant as advertising, but as weird little films they were enjoyable.

Larry J said...

Ultimately, you have to judge ads by their effectiveness. Over 30 years ago, Alka Selser had some of the funniest ads on TV. Everybody was talking about the "I can't believe I ate the whole thing" commercial and others like it. Only, they didn't help increase sales so the ads were failures.

Those Microsoft ads were failures because most people didn't have any idea what they were about. They were just plain wierd.

Seven Machos said...

I liked the ads even though they were weird, and I like Microsoft.

I also disagree with bjm. Plenty of car commercials and alcohol commercial sell nothing but attitude and atmosphere. For whatever reason, though, they don't leave me hanging.

I assumed that there would be some kind of story playing out.

AJ Lynch said...

Harwood - that was my idea of being snarky.

Scrutineer said...

bjm - No, they were too Japanese. Americans are accustomed to the hard sell, an ad without a visual product hook doesn't compute.

Seinfeld "The Airport" (7:36)

Tia: Is that the new Esquire? Turn to page 146.

Jerry: Wow! Coming out of the shower... It's a good thing they gave you that washcloth to cover yourself up... What is this an ad for?

Tia: See those wrinkled jeans slung over the chair? Way in the background, out of focus?

Jerry: ah-hah ...

Scrutineer said...

It's a bit strange that Seinfeld was also featured in one of those Apple "Think Different" ads.

Michael_H said...

Peter V. said: They should have used Kramer.

Brilliant. Too bad you don't work for Microsoft's ad company. Mock the I'm and Apple / I'm a PC ads. Kramer as the PC guy and George Costanza as the Apple guy.

Ann Althouse said...

So has everybody forgotten Kramer's downfall?

Stinger Assassin said...

When was the last time Microsoft did anything exciting?

It's the GM of the future. Around 2040 it'll be going to Washington looking for a handout.

Bissage said...

There’s no better way to sell your product than an endorsement from . . .
Nonsense Rhyme Cheerleader Man!!!
(a copyrighted feature of this broadcast):

Kitty cat, butter fat, baby drive my car,
Ball point pen, try again, some day you’ll go far.

Gooooooooooooo TEAM!

P.S. Nonsense Rhyme Cheerleader Man is also available for mall openings, end-of-year clearance sales and children’s parties.

Tell a friend!

Bissage said...

P.S. Professor Althouse used to look like Julianne Moore.

Now she looks like Carol Lynley.

What gives?

From Inwood said...

Perhaps they should use Margaret Cho.

Tibore said...

Ok, Microsoft really needs to fire the ad company they're using. They give us this lame junk, and on top of that, they've also released that stupid "Windows Mojave" ad.

Yeah, that's a positive spin on your product. Fool people into thinking Vista's something else to get them to look at it. Way to acknowledge the mistrust.

It used to be Apple that had the hot mojo in marketing (infamous 1984 ad), then jettisoned it (initial failure to acknowledge their internet connectability during the rise of popularity of the web). But now, they've got it back, and what's Microsoft doing?

Sheesh... living proof that there's no real need to topple the leviathan. It falls over of it's own accord quite nicely.

Peter V. Bella said...

Ann Althouse said...
So has everybody forgotten Kramer's downfall?

He sort of apologized. Doesn't that make it all better?

Joe said...

I thought the ads were kind of funny, but the pacing was terrible. They had big gaps of silence for no purpose. (Mind you, these were made by the same idiots who make the Truth anti-smoking ads which make even less sense.)

Of course, I haven't found Seinfeld funny since he got into television.

What's so very odd is that Microsoft's internal PR department produced some very funny videos with Bill Gates. His going away video is a hoot.

Glen said...

The problem with the ads is they aren't ads. They sell nothing, promote nothing, position nothing.

They don't ask us to buy, be, want or feel anything.

They're supposed to be funny (Seinfeld's presence is our clue here) but they barely reach the threshold of occasionally amusing.

blake said...

I liked the ads.

If not for gaming, I'd jettison MS in a heartbeat.

Bissage said...

Oh, shit!

Microcomputer . . .

Software . . .

Micro + soft = Microsoft!!!

NOW I GET IT!!1!!!!

**Slaps self on forehead**

Michael_H said...

Jerry Seinfeld was in the ads. They were ads about nothing.

From Inwood said...

Bissage

I knew Carol Lynley. She lived around the corner when we were both growing up in Inwood (No. Manhattan), & Prof A is no Carol Lynley.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

RickLinATL said...

Look, our little business is all Mac-based and I often say I wouldn't do my job if I had to use a PC and deal with all that Windows crap... but isn't Bill Gates the largest (in current AND constant dollars) philanthropist in the history of...the...entire...world?

Why all the hate? He laughs at himself in the ads; who among us, given all that money, would not be much more inclined to just say F**** the whole underachieving lot of you!

The kernel of the whole campaign is revealed in the funny sequence midway through the "family" ad when Bill and Jerry muse about how "out of it" they are: by attaching himself to another otherworldly-successful figure (Seinfeld), Gates can appear to be just a passenger; a companion as the two of them take an elevator ride down to Level 1, Common Man & Sundries.

This is actually quite brilliant. There is no way Gates, alone, has the performance skills or generates enough empathy to try to make this trip alone. He needed Seinfeld, and the ad agency is using Seinfeld in exactly the right way here.

Ultimately, Microsoft needs to humanize Gates; infuse him with some warmth; convince the public that Gates, mellowed by age, philanthropy and fatherhood, is not the win-at-all-costs Nerd On A Payback Mission he once clearly was.

If the ads have done that, and have set the stage for a new phase of the campaign where they actually talk about products, then the agency deserves every bit of its fee.

If a sign of intelligence is the ability to hold competing ideas in your head at the same time, this is a good test case. Gates is unlikable as a human; his insistence on being smarter than thou and injecting every kind of "rich feature" into every piece of software has caused unnecessary misery. His personality is grating. But he has paid off any karmic debts he might have owed, and then some, with his truly astonishing philanthropy.

Give the man credit. Seriously. Give him his due. Let's judge him on the incredible good he has done and is doing in this world, not on his software company.

And appreciate his efforts, however awkward, to project a sort of humility; a sort of all the mea culpa for all the shit he's pulled. I'm not buying a PC no matter what he does, but I'll congratulate him on doing more good in this world than all of of us commenting on this blog, taken as a group, will likely ever do in our entire lifetimes.

Think about that.

Now who's feeling humble?

RickLinATL said...

Oops, I didn't mean to say "all the mea culpa" just "mea culpa" in my long, rambling post above. D'oh!

Glen said...

Gandhi set an example for all humanity that will last throughout the ages. Even so, that example is not going to sell me on the idea of drinking my own urine.

Robert Holmgren said...

Gizmodo says the ads have not been cancelled.

krylovite said...

Seinfeld sacked.

Seinfeld not sacked.

This is why I read Althouse. She covers all the angles on the big stories of the day