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.