September 5, 2008

It’s a bit out there — particularly with the ethereal music and outtakes of shoes in the shower and Spanish-speaking onlookers — but I give the first Seinfeld commercial for Microsoft a thumbs-up for a few reasons.

We often think of Microsoft today as a sprawling entity which, even in the consumer market, fighting three fronts online against Google, in videogames against Sony, and in the MP3 market versus Apple. Gates, however, is strongly identified with the PC, and reintroducing him to the public after all the media around his retirement brings back some of the lightheartedness associated with his public persona. The club card is probably the funniest part of the ad and maybe a bit of a nod to Jerry’s old Amex commercials. (That said, I think some of Gates’ CES videos were funnier than this commercial.)

It’s a good teaser, and the talk about cake at the end creates an intriguing positive association reinforced by the word “Delicious.”  But the commercial is more than a teaser. The whole “shoe that fits” scenario is a clear lead-in to finding the right PC for you, which brings a fresh and more relevant spin to the old arguments of Windows offering more choice.

Finally, it’s “getting people talking” and focusing attention away from the bad publicity around Vista that’s had fuel thrown on its fire by another pair of guys.

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