Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Cranky Pants meets Hatin' on Commercials: Bill Gates meets Jerry Seinfeld

Microsoft has come out with a new ad campaign featuring Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld. I am not alone in thinking this is in the running for the worst ad campaign of all time.

Let me repeat that.

Of. All. Time.

The ads are supposed to be funny. Let's stipulate that Jerry Seinfeld has an industrial sized barrel of funny at his disposal. But when you dump that barrel in the mighty ocean of NOT FUNNY that is Bill Gates, you get... NOT FUNNY.

The first ad is about Gates buying discount shoes at a mall. Is this funny? Are we supposed to think Bill Gates is a regular guy or some bizarre miser? With the way the economy is going, are we supposed to wonder if Bill Gates knows something we don't? Is this an ad for a fictitious shoe called The Conquistador? Do they ever really talk about the product?

Good questions all, hypothetical question asker. The answer to the last one is... never. They never talk about Microsoft in any real context. Seinfeld asks Gates “are they ever going to come out with something that will make our computers moist and chewy like cake so we can just eat them while working?” Gates adjusts his shorts to answer yes.

Not true. Not informative. Not funny.

The second ad has Bill and Jerry staying with a "regular" family. The family largely hates them. I agree with the family.

I'm hoping the third ad is an on screen apology with a vow never to make another stupid ad in the series.

The obvious impetus for these ads are the successful Macintosh series featuring two guys claiming to be a Mac and a PC. These ads are everything the Bill and Jerry ads are not. They are funny, largely because John Hodgman as the PC is very funny. They are clever. THEY TELL THE VIEWER ABOUT THE ADVANTAGES OF THE PRODUCT THEY ARE TRYING TO SELL, NAMELY THE MAC.

One of the sentences in the previous paragraph is more important than the others. Can you tell which one?

Yes, hypothetical, I can. I think everybody can.


Karen Zipdrive said...

While I don't loathe the Seinfeld/Gates ads, I did wonder why they weren't funnier.
And it's really kind of hard to tell what they're trying to sell us.

pissed off patricia said...

Good! I'm not alone! Each time I see that ad or the newer one, the only thing I can think is, WTF is this about?

I have fu*king idea what they are selling or what the ad is about. If an ad is that remote, what the fu*k good does it do?

If the only thing one remembers about an ad is that it was boring and made no point, someone has wasted a lot of money for tv time.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

I agree. Having two wildly wealthy men tout the crappy Windows products was not a good idea.

dguzman said...

Totally agree about this--and the whole rich guys buying discount shoes. During the pitch, I imagine on of the ad guys saying, "oh, ha ha. Like THOSE guys have to worry about money! Ha ha! That's fecking HILARIOUS! I love rich guys who scrimp on shoes! Ha ha!"

Um, no.

Matty Boy said...

Thanks for the comments.

I have to disagree with Dr. Monkey to some extent, because the real problem is that the commercials DON'T tout Microsoft products.

I agree with dguzman 100%.

These are the opposite of the Head-On commercials, but not in a good way. The Head-On spots are incredibly cheap and won't stop repeating the products' name. These things have very high production value and won't tell you what they are trying to sell.

Sometimes, the opposite of one kind of bad is yet another kind of bad.

Ed said...

I haven't seen the "shoes" ad, but while watching the Packers last Sunday, I saw the ones where they were staying with the family. I didn't recognize Bill Gates right away, so I found myself wondering if it was an ad for a new sitcom starring Seinfeld. "This doesn't look funny at all" I thought to myself. "Oh, that's Bill Gates." Then the Microsoft logo comes on the screen. "Huh?!"

I agree with you about the Mac ads; it's the PC guy that makes them funny. Without him, they'd be boring.