A new campaign for Microsoft features Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld experiencing life in the real world.Â In the first ad, “Shoe Circus,” Seinfeld spots Gates in a discount shoe store.Â He immediately takes over from the lackadaisical clerk and fits Gates for a pair of shoes.Â This process takes 1:33 – a huge block of time by advertising standards.Â The second ad, “New Family” has Seinfeld and Gates moving in with an average American family to try to understand how they live.Â It doesn’t go well, and the pair are eventually set up by the pre-teen daughter and evicted.Â Microsoft has already announced that this campaign has ‘run its course’ and will be replaced by an ad mocking the successful “I’m a Mac/I’m a PC” ad campaign from Apple.
Precious little.Â This ad functions almost as a signature for the style of Crispin Porter + Bogusky in its lack of focus, persuasion or relevance.Â However it did draw much more attention than the failed $500 million campaign for Windows Vista.Â See this Advertising Blog’s original advice for Microsoft on that campaign here.
Microsoft (with help from Crispin Porter) spends a huge amount of money to remind us of the central failings of Windows: it runs slowly, is out of touch with average people and seems old and dated.Â These are the only definitive impressions from nearly 6 minutes worth of primetime advertising.Â The ads focus on two men who are no longer doing what they’re famous for.Â Bill Gates -Â who has left the helm of Microsoft to head the Gates Foundation – and Jerry Seinfeld – who long ago closed his hit sitcom.Â The ad portays the two men on an ironic quest to try to understand average people.Â They seem to comically fail to do this in both spots.
However the executional choices in the ad give the average viewer all the clues he or she needs about Microsoft.Â The ad is as long as Vista boot times.Â It’s as unfocused as the thousands of unnecessary features that slow down Microsoft Office.Â And it’s as out of touch as Microsoft customer support.
Microsoft advertising ought to be focused on what Microsoft is doing to actually improve our interactions with the personal computer.Â This ad only reminds us that we’ve had little choice for many years but to fork over hard-earned money and suffer.
Branding Bottom Line:
Never before have so few spent so much to accomplish so little with advertising