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September 6, 2008 4:54 PM   Subscribe

The Wait is over. Microsoft brings Seinfeld and Gates together. The verdict?. Meh. (Previously).
posted by Xurando (86 comments total)

 
It's an ad about nothing?

All I was able to gather from that is that Bill jokes they're making a cake computer, which isn't a complete stretch of the imagination when you look at their recent impractical work like "Sphere Surface". I'm just not seeing what this has to do with Microsoft except for the brief logo, although it's supposed to develop the story in subsequent ads (although if it leaves viewers thinking "wtf", they're likely not going to follow it).
posted by cgomez at 5:03 PM on September 6, 2008


Too bad they couldn't get the Windows guy from the Mac commercials. I like Mac much more, but the Mac guy comes off as a prick, and the Windows guy is kinda sweet.

What did Seinfeld do with all his money that he's got to whore himself out on every corner (and, um, window)?
posted by troybob at 5:04 PM on September 6, 2008


“engage customers in a conversation … to get the conversation going again about what Windows means in people’s everyday lives.”

I saw the ad. I talked about it with my boyfriend. The result of the conversation was "This was a horrible, horrible idea. If no one at microsoft was smart or ambitious enough to pull this before it became public, then we really, really don't want to invest money into their products."
posted by silkygreenbelly at 5:06 PM on September 6, 2008 [4 favorites]


Leave it to Microsoft to launch a multi-million dollar campaign with a video link ending in a GUID.
posted by LukeyBoy at 5:07 PM on September 6, 2008 [15 favorites]


That was funny and charming. But I still wouldn't let any Windows OS (or MS software in general) with 50 ft of a computer under my control.
posted by DU at 5:16 PM on September 6, 2008


So this is how Microsoft intends to repair Vista? Good luck.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:17 PM on September 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


If this ad was around to tease Windows 3.1 or Windows 95, it would have been great. Jerry's schtick seems sort of stale much like the Amex spots he did a while back. It was "edgy" and "fresh" a decade or so ago. But great job Mr. Seinfeld on getting $10 million for just a few hours of work!

This spot is a tease for future work where the internal MS email promises to help users "celebrate what it can do for consumers at work, at play and on-the-go." As someone who has "celebrated" having to reboot and issues all day at the office, I can't wait the hear how that's going to happen.

If the point of this campaign is to have people fall in love with Windows all over again, it will need a lot more than churros, shoes and Bill Gates shaking his ass.

Apple has the advantage that it isn't Microsoft.
posted by birdherder at 5:18 PM on September 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


I saw that and I didn't get it at all. I mean, it was kind of funny but I didn't get how it would make anyone interested in using Vista at all.

Anyway, I actually like Vista. I had no idea I would like it until I bought a new laptop that came with vista preinstalled. I was surprised at how nice Aero Glass actually looked.

This video was like, a couple of old fogies who used to be greats. Is that the message of Vista: Windows is old and reliable, it used to be great and now it's fading away into retirement?
posted by delmoi at 5:19 PM on September 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


Shit Sandwich. No soup, and no salad, either.

Nada mas nada es nada.
posted by dbiedny at 5:21 PM on September 6, 2008


Are Microsoft selling shoes and churros now?

I don't get how the ad relates to Vista being good at all.
posted by Talez at 5:23 PM on September 6, 2008


I just didn't get it. How is it an ad for Microsoft? The only connection is Gates (who's stepping/has stepped down), and the mention at the end. It was an ad about nothing.
posted by djgh at 5:25 PM on September 6, 2008


It's not about Vista, it's about changing the image of Microsoft to a friendly, sort of wacky company. Then they start talking about Vista.

Also, Bill Gates probably made double what Seinfeld made off of this campaign.

Think Different indeed.
posted by blue_beetle at 5:26 PM on September 6, 2008


It's kind of surreal. No message. Mildly amusing, at best. Everybody still hates Vista. You spose this will make people despise Microsoft a teeny bit less?
posted by theora55 at 5:26 PM on September 6, 2008


the ad makes as much sense as windows... none...
posted by HuronBob at 5:27 PM on September 6, 2008


I don't get how the ad relates to Vista being good at all.

Rule one of savvy advertising: if your product is sub par, deflect attention away from said product's flaws by hiring an A-list celebrity from the previous decade and run an ad campaign stating said actor will be shilling your sub par product in your upcoming ad campaign...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 5:27 PM on September 6, 2008


WHO ARE THE AD WIZARDS
posted by DU at 5:31 PM on September 6, 2008 [8 favorites]


I haven't seen these yet. Every time it comes on it alerts me an error has occured and to restart my TV.
posted by hal9k at 5:47 PM on September 6, 2008 [4 favorites]


I'm surprised that my computer even played the video without forcing me to hack codecs. I've never had reason to go to microsoft's site but I thought I read somewhere, a while ago, that you could only view it through IE, which of course goes to show how gullible I am for believing urban myths.
posted by mannequito at 6:07 PM on September 6, 2008


It was a dumb commercial, but I didn't hate it as much as those smarmy Mac ads.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 6:08 PM on September 6, 2008


It's like the Mac guy vs the Microsoft guy ... except they're both Microsoft guys. Except two Microsoft guys would be talking about some recent meltdown one of them had with their box.
posted by philip-random at 6:12 PM on September 6, 2008


Google Chrome refuses to play the Microsoft ad! Conspiracy!

Actually I probably just need to reboot the browser or something. I'll go do that.
posted by Caduceus at 6:15 PM on September 6, 2008


My son & I watched the churro/shoe carnival ad. Like Cgomez & the OP said before us, our responses were "WTF?" and "meh." I started on PCs with the IBM 5150, the XT, and the AT. Pretty much a loyalist, right on into this century. Mrs. Bubba, an artist, has had a Mac of some sort since the mid 90s, and I learned to work on them, and work with them.

I have a PC that was pretty damned good in 2004. Through various enticements, I upgraded to Vista last year. My god, that tore it for me. The bungling on behalf of the PC vendor's support people and the MS people was colossal.

Parallel to this, I bought myself a 2003 vintage iMac, which has worked pretty much flawlessly since day 1.

I lost access to tons of software from my "upgraydd" from Vista back to XP.

Now, I still have a lot of respect for Gates and for Microsoft, but the argument that the guys that fucked me over should be the ones to trust with my most vital possessions? That sounds familiar, somehow. Didn't the RNC trot that one out last Thursday? Sorry, Bill, Sorry Jerry. Churros and shoes and smarm just wasn't good enough.
posted by beelzbubba at 6:16 PM on September 6, 2008


Yeah, that did it.

Aaaand... the hell? That's it? I read the articles and I was still underwhelmed.

Windows XP hasn't crashed on me since they released SP 2. Sure, some programs crash sometimes, but I've had more crashes on Macs at school. I see no reason to upgrade to Vista until games besides Shadowrun start coming out without XP support.

And this commercial sure didn't do anything to change my mind.
posted by Caduceus at 6:23 PM on September 6, 2008


I thought it was kind of cute. And it was brilliant making Bill's actual mug shot the photo on his bargain shoe ID card.
posted by ericbop at 6:26 PM on September 6, 2008


Every time a "meh" is uttered, an angel gets its wings CAUGHT IN A TURBINE.

I was more in the WTF camp than the meh camp.
posted by grouse at 6:32 PM on September 6, 2008


I like the churros.

Windows PCs are like churros: you really only need to try them once.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 6:33 PM on September 6, 2008


Shit Sandwich. No soup, and no salad, either.

No soup for you!
posted by ericb at 6:39 PM on September 6, 2008


Rule one of savvy advertising: if your product is sub par, deflect attention away from said product's flaws...

Kinda like what the Republicans are doing right now vis-a-vis the poorly-vetted selection of Sarah Palin as their Vice Presidential candidate.
posted by ericb at 6:42 PM on September 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


"And what's the deal with that Clippy guy? Why is he there? Who uses Clippy? Who are these people?"
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:49 PM on September 6, 2008


It looks like you're trying to make a commercial for something.

Would you like some help with that?


posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:03 PM on September 6, 2008 [17 favorites]


I thought it was great.
posted by The Monkey at 7:19 PM on September 6, 2008


I would rather watch this 1000 more times before seeing another Mac vs. PC ad. It also shows that Microsoft has little sense of humor unlike constantly getting insulted by the Mac ads.

Plus look at it, in all the Macs are more expensive, while the creator of Microsoft is shopping at a discount shoe store in a mall, like normal people. That's gotta mean something right? Or maybe I'm just bitter.
posted by lilkeith07 at 7:38 PM on September 6, 2008


They wanted to get people talking. They did it. It's too early for a verdict. Another couple of commercials first.

Kinda like what the Republicans are doing right now vis-a-vis the poorly-vetted selection of Sarah Palin as their Vice Presidential candidate.
posted by ericb


Oh STFU. I realize it's all you think about but keep your politics in the 10 political threads already on metafilter. The general consensus is to skip topics you don't care about. Easy. But it's difficult when you preach in non-political threads too.
posted by Dennis Murphy at 7:40 PM on September 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


OPEN ON a deserted New Orleans street. On the side of the road sets a limousine with the hood open, steam pouring out. Bill Gates and a limo driver stand beside the car. Gates checks his watch and shakes his head.

Ian A.T.'s taxi turns the corner, and Gates frantically flags it down.

CUT TO interior of Ian A.T.'s taxi.


GATES: The Ritz-Carlton, please.

IAN AT: No problem.

GATES: Oh my god, I'm so glad you drove by. You totally saved my life.

IAN AT: Just doing my job. You know, I'm gonna be at the Ritz-Carlton later tonight, actually. I have a date at The Library Lounge.

GATES: No way...I have a little meet 'n' greet at the Library Lounge around ten.

IAN AT: Yeah, I'm meeting my date around ten. Maybe I'll see you there.

GATES thinks about this, then smiles to himself.

GATES: I have a great idea. If I see you on your date, I'll come over and tell you what a big fan of you I am, and how everything I know I learned from you, and so on.

IAN AT: Ha! That would be so awesome. I'd really appreciate that.

GATES: Good, it'll be fun.

IAN AT: Ah, man...this is gonna be so great! I can't wait.

CUT TO The Library Lounge at the Ritz-Carlton. IAN A.T. is wearing a impeccable pinstripe suit and his monogrammed Hurf / Durf cufflinks. His date is beautiful, but she's clearly bored by our hero, and probably about to go to the bathroom, never to return. IAN A.T. is trying to interest her in a funny story, but she's only barely paying attention. A thin layer of flop sweat has broken out on his forehead.

GIRL: (disinterested) What happened then?

IAN AT:
So I'm sitting there, right, one hand on the bottle and the other on...

BILL GATES has approached, looking sheepish. IAN AT's date looks up, and her eyes widen at the site of the richest man in the world, looking nervous in the presence of her date.

GATES: Mr. AT, sir...I just want to tell you that I'm such a big fan, and everything I know I-

IAN AT:
Hey, fuck off, Gates. Can't you see I'm busy here?

GATES walks away, shaking his head. In the background, though, IAN A.T.'s date looks at him with a newfound respect and her body language becomes much more open. CUT TO tagline:

MICROSOFT: We're here to help...

...any way we can.

posted by Ian A.T. at 7:56 PM on September 6, 2008 [16 favorites]


There is some really bizarre stuff in that ad.

For example, the shoe Seinfeld is rubbing Gates' foot through is the "Conquistador" while some Latino family (also, like Gates was at the beginning, eating churros, at least the kids) is looking through the window with looks of consternation on the faces of the mother and father.

Anyone care to unpack that for me?
posted by jamjam at 8:03 PM on September 6, 2008


If you're attacked by two clowns, go for the juggler.
posted by netbros at 8:06 PM on September 6, 2008 [11 favorites]


They've got another new campaign, where they tell "unsuspecting" "volunteers" there's something new called "Microsoft Mojave," which is met with much oohing and ahhing, and later revealed to be Vista. The message is clear: Microsoft Vista -- It doesn't suck as much as you think it does.

It basically the same as the new Pizza Hut ads, which of course are merely ripping off the classic Folger's Crystals campaign. So, yeah.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:11 PM on September 6, 2008


Microsoft has a heck of a marketing problem. They never were cool, particularly innovative, and their business model was essentially the realization of the importance of hijacking standards in maintaining a monopoly.

They are watching their control of these critical standards evaporate. It's been a slow decline they've recognized since the rise of Netscape and have certainly been fighting through means both legal and illegal. They've been covertly funding the legal attacks on Linux, losing antitrust judgements here and abroad, and facing the another viable threat to their standards-based monopoly in Google- that's why Google's chrome is all about after all.

On top of this, they've been saddled with a long string of bad releases. Office 2007's "ribbon" interface was poorly received, and Vista has become an industry laugher. They've had to resort to folger's crystals style marketing, which is clearly not the way to go forward. Their execrable perception had a lot to do with Yahoo's refusal to be acquired- you can make a credible case that the negative brand equity that Microsoft would bring to Yahoo (and the strong desire of Yahoo's top technical talent to run screaming from Microsoft's technologies) was what gave Yang the ability to keep Yahoo independent, despite the loss of billions of dollars to Yahoo's investors. Any other company- Apple, Disney, or IBM- even Time Warner- would likely have prevailed in that takeover bid.

It's clear that the decision that they've made is to try to grow the Microsoft brand- change the perception from evil incompetence into something friendlier. They've got a good-cop bad-cop thing going, with Gates doing admirable philanthropic work, while Ballmer storms around unleashing FUD-storms, threatens patent-infringement lawsuits and chucks chairs around the office.

In terms of brand positioning, I think that this ad actually works. They are trying to introduce the character of Bill Gates as a nebbishy guy who goes through the same things in his day to day life as everyone else- he buys shoes at the discount club, his underwear rides up, and he has a thing for sitcom stars from 10 years ago. It's clear that they are introducing him as Bill Gates the character- like Dave Thomas or Lee Iaccoca. They are trying to accelerate this introduction, and they have plenty of cash, so they can afford the long-form format. They can also afford to think strategically here; turning this brand perception problem around will take years- even with all the money in the world.

This isn't an ad for vista, or office, or even Microsoft. It's not trying to get you to dial 1-800 Mattress- the call to action is deliberately missing. This is not a sales pitch. It's an ad for the character Bill Gates who represents the Microsoft brand promise- your nerdy buddy who knows what cool software things are being developed, but is still somehow just folks, despite all his billions.

It may not have worked for you- you may not have any more appreciation for the character or the brand- but it probably does hit the right nostalgia notes (thanks to Seinfeld) to make the character introduction effective, and may help them get you to start to rethink the Microsoft brand. Maybe not this year, but maybe the year after that.
posted by jenkinsEar at 8:14 PM on September 6, 2008 [11 favorites]


I like Vista.
posted by signal at 8:15 PM on September 6, 2008


Office 2007's "ribbon" interface was poorly received

The 2007 interface is one of my favorite things from Microsoft in the last 10 years.

I fucking hope we aren't still looking at File, Edit, View for the next 20 years.
posted by Ynoxas at 8:28 PM on September 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


I like turtles.
posted by humannaire at 8:37 PM on September 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sys Rq writes "They've got another new campaign, where they tell 'unsuspecting' 'volunteers' there's something new called 'Microsoft Mojave,' which is met with much oohing and ahhing, and later revealed to be Vista."

Right. It makes you think that Vista isn't so bad, until you realize that in order to have been fooled, not one of the people interviewed could have ever used Vista or they would have recognized it on sight. Rather than address criticisms by those familiar with the interface, they've decided to save face by tricking people who have only heard it sucks. Me, I've used Vista. It really blows. They took some of the easiest, most familiar parts of the UI and fucked it up, to be quite frank, and on top of that they made the security features so nagging and annoying that I'm sure many (if not a majority) of the potential users will end up turning it off. Here's a fun one, for example. Fire up Vista and find out your computer's MAC address. I dare you. (Hint: it's buried in a goddamn tooltip for christ's sake!) Or try something as simple as plugging it into an ethernet cable. See the other computers on the network yet? See the network itself yet? Guy in our lab has the damnedest time just trying to do simple shit like that. XP works, it's stable, it's reliable, it's less demanding on resources. Microsoft had a long, long time to improve on it. They didn't.

jenkinsEar writes "Office 2007's "ribbon" interface was poorly received"

...and here's me, missing the Ribbon interface on Mac Office 2008, the most godawful pile of steaming crap ever shat out of Redmond. If I could use Office 07, ribbon and all, on my Mac, without some third-party Windows emulation software, I'd be doing cartwheels.
posted by caution live frogs at 8:48 PM on September 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


This seems like the ad agency's big idea was to hire Seinfeld and then the actual creative concept was either written or edited out of existence by a corporate committee over at Microsoft. I picture them all chortling "HAHA CHURROS is a funny word" and "I love to say CONQUISTADOR". Lame and Gates is (not unexpectedly) charm-free. I'll take the Dr. Z (former CEO of DaimlerChrysler) ads for Chrysler instead, thanks at least he has a funny moustache.

I think the MAC vs. PC was also a misstep for Apple. They should tout how great they are now how lame their competition is.
posted by Miastar at 8:54 PM on September 6, 2008


It's kind of surreal. No message. Mildly amusing, at best.

So it's exactly like most commercials except it's cooler to hate this one, or something.
posted by juiceCake at 9:19 PM on September 6, 2008


Right. It makes you think that Vista isn't so bad, until you realize that in order to have been fooled, not one of the people interviewed could have ever used Vista or they would have recognized it on sight. Rather than address criticisms by those familiar with the interface, they've decided to save face by tricking people who have only heard it sucks.
But that was my experience exactly. I thought vista sucked, then I got a laptop with vista preloaded, and discovered it was actually pretty cool, or at least better then XP. I wouldn't try to install vista over an XP install, which I'm sure would fuck things up and I wouldn't try to install it on old hardware, it's a pig but it runs beautifully on my 8-core Xeon desktop, and my dual core laptop.
They took some of the easiest, most familiar parts of the UI and fucked it up,
Well, I'm not someone who can't deal with change, so what if they change things around?
to be quite frank, and on top of that they made the security features so nagging and annoying that I'm sure many (if not a majority) of the potential users will end up turning it off
What are you doing that you're firing up the security thing so often? Other then installing new software, it mostly stays out of the way.

But, those annoyances are necessary if you want to have backwards compatibility with old software, the O.S. needs to know what software can do what. New programs can be written in a way that doesn't require exceptions, and so as time goes on they'll be less annoying
Here's a fun one, for example. Fire up Vista and find out your computer's MAC address. I dare you. (Hint: it's buried in a goddamn tooltip for christ's sake!)
Lets see, I press the start button, type 'cmd' into the search bar, then I press the icon for the command prompt that pops up. The command prompt opens, and I type "getmac". And my mac address appears on the screen.

Let's try using the GUI. I click the start button, right click on the 'network' button and do properties. Then I right click on the icon for my active connection and click 'properties', then 'status' then I click the "details..." button, and there's the MAC address, except it's called a "Physical Address"

I've never tried getting the MAC before on vista, and I had no trouble doing it.
posted by delmoi at 9:36 PM on September 6, 2008


This is the Windows website? Really? No links to features, links to those ephemeral lifestyleusecaseadvertisingstudy video things. The windows logo isn't linked, and neither is the microsoft one. In fact, there's no link to microsoft.com anywhere on the page. Consider me puzzled.
posted by tmcw at 9:52 PM on September 6, 2008


George, Sr.: Now, listen, we can’t just go in there and plead “not guilty,” we have to have someone big behind us, our own private Matlock. So I made some calls and I got him.
Michael: Got who?
George, Sr.: Andy Griffith. What, you never saw Matlock?
Michael: Not a real attorney, Dad.
George, Sr.: Now, for ten grand, he’ll actually sit behind us in court and read the paper. For $15,000, he’ll actually sit at the defense table. For $20,000, he’ll twice lean forward (Whispers.) and whisper something in your ear. Oh. White suit, that’s extra.
Michael: Boy, that’s an awful lot of money for the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard.
George, Sr.: The juries love him.
posted by niles at 9:59 PM on September 6, 2008


In all seriousness though, this did make me want to go watch some Seinfeld. I'm guessing that's not the angle they were going for.
posted by niles at 10:00 PM on September 6, 2008


A clever attempt to position Microsoft as the regular guy, unaffected by Mac's insufferably smug attitude.

Next: Haircut Circus.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:49 PM on September 6, 2008


Miastar wrote:
I think the MAC vs. PC was also a misstep for Apple. They should tout how great they are now how lame their competition is.


I disagree. The first few were a good idea. The problem is that they've been flogging that shit for what seems like years. It's time to move on to what's good about OSX, not what's bad about XP and Vista, at least mostly.
posted by wierdo at 11:01 PM on September 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


I like money.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:11 PM on September 6, 2008


they've been flogging that shit for what seems like years

Seems like? They have been flogging that shit for a period actually amounting to several years.

It's time to move on to what's good about OSX, not what's bad about XP and Vista, at least mostly.


I dunno. Vista is by many accounts a disaster, and that's something worth taking advantage of. However, the Mac vs. PC format is indeed getting awfully stale. And that musicbox soundtrack has irritated the bejeezus out of me since day one.

(That said, I must still stand by my original opinion: The campaign's true failing is that The Always Awesome John Hodgman is far more charismatic as "PC" than That Smarmy Douche In A Hoodie as "Mac.")

Apple still does Look How Awesome This Spinning Gadget Is for product launches, and while that's getting a bit repetitive after a good decade of rotation (so to speak), at least it's not quite annoying as fuck.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:32 PM on September 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm alternating between

bahahahaahahahahaha

and

aaaaaaauuuugggghhhh
posted by tehloki at 11:40 PM on September 6, 2008


That said, I must still stand by my original opinion: The campaign's true failing is that The Always Awesome John Hodgman is far more charismatic as "PC" than That Smarmy Douche In A Hoodie as "Mac."

It seems counterintuitive, but believe it or not, that's exactly why the commercials work. Well...why they initially worked. I think they went to the well too many times. But the genius of the first ads was that Hodgman really was the best thing in the spot. The "macs are better" message comes thorough, but it's secondary to "Apple's cool enough to put Hodgman in a commercial"

As to these new MS ads...i was completely underwhelmed. Judging by recent output, it's become obvious that Seinfeld is a no-talent hack who rode Larry David's coattails to some serious coin.
posted by billyfleetwood at 12:14 AM on September 7, 2008


I can't get over the atrocious jupiter/saturn dialogue at the end. That was extremely poorly written, and horribly executed. Gates had a look on his face the entire time that said "I am suffering through this only because someone told me that this would help my company."

Maybe they thought that the billg retirement video was well-received because of its quality? Or maybe that was just the first salvo in this terribly-produced-but-isn't-he-sorta-pitiable-because-of-it campaign?
posted by breath at 12:48 AM on September 7, 2008


The most inexplicably popular seldom amusing comedian meets the most inexplicably popular barely functional operating system. Undoubtedly, people will love it, foam at the mouth about it, and fight for countless decades over just how wonderfully great it was.

Throw a few angels into the turbine for me while I pray to the agnostic prayer receptacle for linux to one day become capable of doing the work I need to do so I can leave both this and the smug guy in the hoodie behind.
posted by sonascope at 5:07 AM on September 7, 2008


Yes, this was an ad about nothing. In other words, it was the first episode of Jerry Seinfeld's new series.
posted by eratus at 5:19 AM on September 7, 2008


As a big Seinfeld fan I'll agree that his schtick is getting a bit old. That wearing clothes in the shower observation seemed forced and weak. And yeah, I didn't get the ad either.
posted by gfrobe at 5:40 AM on September 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


The answers to all your questions is right here. Sheesh, I thought you guys read something other than Metafilter now and then.
posted by Ber at 9:20 AM on September 7, 2008


Still no real live proof of Vista being a "failure". Still waiting for my laptop to explode (or turn into cake).

Meanwhile, I don't have an ugly, 1998-looking OS.


I'll just keep waiting....
posted by Zambrano at 9:36 AM on September 7, 2008


Next up: Michael Richards' Zune commercial.
posted by mazola at 10:03 AM on September 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


A clever attempt to position Microsoft as the regular guy, unaffected by Mac's insufferably smug attitude.

I think there's something there. They could do what Dunkin Donuts is doing vis-a-vis Starbucks: we don't need no stinkin' fancy-ass frou-frou macs. Real men use Vista.
posted by callmejay at 10:10 AM on September 7, 2008


(For the record, once I spent a couple of days turning off features in Vista, I like it no less and no more than XP. And XP was pretty solid.)
posted by callmejay at 10:10 AM on September 7, 2008


The part where Bill "adjusts" his underwear was, for me, beyond cringe-worthy...

But overall, yes, it succeeds because it's been noticed in a sea of utterly forgettable TV.
posted by Exchequer at 10:22 AM on September 7, 2008


Office 2007's "ribbon" interface was poorly received

We've just begun deployment of Office 2007 and so far, after some initial confusion, almost every one of our users has eventually come to prefer the ribbon. I'm not one of them, but I'm a heavy keyboard shortcut user so the interface really doesn't matter to me all that much.
posted by JaredSeth at 10:38 AM on September 7, 2008


There is some really bizarre stuff in that ad.

For example, the shoe Seinfeld is rubbing Gates' foot through is the "Conquistador" while some Latino family (also, like Gates was at the beginning, eating churros, at least the kids) is looking through the window with looks of consternation on the faces of the mother and father.

Anyone care to unpack that for me?


It struck me the first time, and I went back and rewatched it, and the pseudo-random, family guy style humour is really remarkable in potential subtext. The Latino family's words and physical expression are sufficiently ambiguous in implication: "Is that the Conquistador?", the wife asks, to which the husband replies, "They run tight." It invokes historical narratives of conquest and empire, colonialism, and frankly, genocide. At the same time, Cortes is distant history, and Bill Gates becomes a contemporary everyman, just another ordinary consumer of churros and bargain footwear in our new global, pan-ethnic and homogeneous marketplace. Yes it is effectively an advertisement "about nothing", but as has been pointed out, advertisements are always nominally about "nothing, but in occupying our attention and attempting to entertain, it's incredible what is passively communicated. The whole point of modern marketing is to influence behaviour while you are completely unawares. Even when my only response to an ad is rage and disgust, the subtle information of it has already entered and altered the mind.
posted by kaspen at 10:53 AM on September 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


I preferred the Johnny Knoxville rumors. When it turned out to be Seinfeld, I was disappointed.
posted by jabberjaw at 12:44 PM on September 7, 2008


When it turned out to be Seinfeld, I was disappointed.

I hate when that happens.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:15 PM on September 7, 2008


Remember this is the first of many ads in the series. As time goes on, I expect nuanced references to previous layers. So instead of one layer of meh, it'll be more like a parfait... of shit.

Also, if you'll forgive an earlier joke, not even Tehloki favorited it.

Vista is pretty good on hardware that exceeds the recommended standards. If you don't have that, it sucks to be you. As for the security annoyances, something needed to be done to try and fix the gaping holes and zombie botnet problems that MS has caused over the years. The problem was that they are so uptight about licensing that they didn't think of the obvious fix. They need to create a minimalist ironclad hypervisor OS which does four things: run a trusted computing hardware abstraction layer, handle DRM keys, run virtualized user accessible OSes underneath, and scan/clean the virtualized OS when it inevitably gets corrupted or infected. They could also throw in a license to run a virtualized copy of XP for backward compatability purposes.
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:21 AM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


I doubt this ad is actually going to help Microsoft in any way. If they want to appear "cutting edge" Jerry Seinfeld is not your man.
posted by metamush at 8:29 AM on September 8, 2008


Microsoft does not want to appear "cutting edge" here. Mac has staked out that territory. Microsoft wants to be the comfortable, durable leather shoe. Seinfeld fits right in. There's a lot going on in this ad.

"Is that the Conquistador?" is funny on several levels. You expect the Latino woman to recognize Gates, but she recognizes the shoe instead. But Gates, also, is the conquistador, and he runs tight--that's why he's at Shoe Circus. This reinforces the notion that Microsoft products are not lavish or stylish like Mac, but they do the job for the everyday guy at an economical price. Microsoft is positioning.

The "adjust your shorts" bit says that Microsoft is responsive to customer needs. Bill isn't silly; he won't wear his clothes in the shower. But you want a computer like a cake? Sure. We'll do that for you.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:44 AM on September 8, 2008


The background is filled with "WHY PAY MORE?" signs. When the Latinos are speaking, the large subtitle underneath the family reads "They run tight." At the very end of the clip, Bill and Jerry walk towards their vehicles in the parking lot. There's a small, white, SUV, a small sedan behind that, and a motorcycle.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:17 AM on September 8, 2008


Are the New Microsoft Ads About Kinky Sex?

Scenario: Two guys meet in a shoe store. The one guys offers a churro to the other—an obvious phallic symbol, possibly a code word. The guy refuses. So the guy with the churro starts to massage the other guy's foot, and asks about what he's feeling. The guy who relented at first says a definite code word: "leather." The two look furtively at each other for an uncomfortably long time. They scene is just short of a wink taking place. One mentions "showering" with clothes on. The next thing you know the twosome, now each holding rigid churros, walk off together. One asks the other to adjust his underwear as a "sign."

(Sorry if this has already been linked and I missed it. Have thousands of comments to read in another thread.)
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 7:27 PM on September 8, 2008


Yeah, that "leather" scene is kinky. Now run it again and watch the couple behind them during that long, nodding stare.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:21 PM on September 8, 2008


The second ad is out. And if you thought the first one was confusing...
posted by HaloMan at 8:46 PM on September 11, 2008


I'm really looking forward to the weapons-grade pandemonium explication of that one.
posted by grouse at 9:58 PM on September 11, 2008


When it starts looking like Gallagher would have been a better pick you know you screwed up.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:02 AM on September 12, 2008


The second ad is even better than the first.
posted by signal at 10:33 AM on September 12, 2008


The second ad is even better than the first.
Are you freaking serious?
posted by Xurando at 3:30 PM on September 12, 2008


Yep.
posted by signal at 4:43 PM on September 12, 2008


Microsoft: Stop making fun of us.
posted by grouse at 8:54 AM on September 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well, I'm always happy to see David Costabile in something.
posted by Shepherd at 10:05 AM on September 15, 2008


"Microsoft announcement tomorrow: No more Seinfeld ads!"
—Valleywag.com

posted by blueberry at 9:15 PM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


That's kind of sad. I'm not crying or anything--I mean, the dude got paid like crazy--but they seem to be blaming Seinfeld for the campaign's failure to connect with its audience.

The ads could have been good. Great, even. If they'd played it straight rather than whatever the fuck they were going for, it could have been a charming little spot about two rich-ass white guys with lots of time on their hands.

It also might have helped if the writers hadn't been so stoned.

That said, stone the writers.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:05 AM on September 18, 2008


I liked the ads and think they're making a mistake by shifting focus. Makes me sad.
posted by HaloMan at 6:52 AM on September 18, 2008


When it starts looking like Gallagher would have been a better pick you know you screwed up.
posted by BrotherCaine


I think even Gallagher II would have been better.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 4:13 PM on September 18, 2008


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