GO
Loading...

New Microsoft Ad With Seinfeld Hardly a "Shoe-In"

Friday, 5 Sep 2008 | 2:40 PM ET
Jerry Seinfeld
CNBC.com
Jerry Seinfeld

It's long, it's weird, it's kinda boring--not too funny. And I'm not honestly sure what Microsoft is selling here.

A few weeks ago, I detailed in a blog Microsoft's decision to use comedian Jerry Seinfeldas its new pitchman. I wrote then of the unusual choice of a professional complainer who hasn't done anything meaningful since his show Seinfeld went off the air a decade ago.

Sure, he's dabbled in a number of ventures since, done the "Bee Movie," a series of American Expresscommercials, and some stand-up as well, but largely, he has been living off the enormous residuals of his one good idea. Kinda like Microsoftinventing Windows, I wrote then, and largely living off its monopoly revenue ever since.

Today, hypothetical gets real now that we get to see the first ad featuring Seinfeld. About 90 seconds long, and I stress "long," the commercial has Bill Gates shopping for shoes, Seinfeld seeing him in the store, and popping in to help out. It's quirky, awkward, mildly humorous (and I stress "mildly"), and, well, long!

The best part? Gates' "Big Top" frequent shopping card at the Shoe Circus, complete with geeky, childhood photo. That was funny, but no catch phrase, no clear message, no compelling story that holds your interest. As Seinfeld was walking through the mall, he should have at least been listening to some tunes on his Zune. No such luck. The churro was cute.

Microsoft & Seinfeld
Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates star in this new ad for Microsoft.

(Video: Microsoft Ad with Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates.)

Microsoft comes up woefully short on the "icon" meter.

Where Appleoffers a simple message that spotlights its superiority, Microsoft tries to offer kitsch. Where Apple offers "message," Microsoft puts forth mediocrity. Where Apple engenders emotion and humor, sprinkled with a dash of elitism and aspiration, Microsoft offers something that just falls flat.

Which is unfortunate. Apple has had its way with Microsoft since "I'm a Mac/I'm a PC" debuted. Bill Gates' commercial response suggests this emperor has no clothes. Hmmm. Maybe an underwear-clad Seinfeld wandering through a mall? Or Gates in boxers? Nah, that just isn't funny either.

Update: The photo on the Big Top frequent shopper card was actually more funny than I thought. Turns out it isn't a childhood photo, but a mug shot from Gates' arrest in New Mexico in 1977 stemming from a traffic violation. OK, now I'm liking this commercial a lot more. Thanks, Phillip Raso, for the heads-up!

    • Microsoft kicks off $300 million Windows marketing push

Questions? Comments? TechCheck@cnbc.com

  Price   Change %Change
MSFT
---
AAPL
---