Crispin Exchanges MSFT/Seinfeld Ads for Potentially Worse Idea


Well, everyone got what they wanted. Those zany Bill Gates/Jerry Seinfeld ads (see 1 and 2) are out of the picture and now we'll never see what they were building up to. That upsets me. Then again, I didn't whip out the $10 million for Seinfeld.

In their stead, Crispin's hired a dead-ringer for John Hodgman, the stodgy but lovable "humorist" who personifies PC in Apple's "Mac vs. PC" ads. (See Hodgman pose as free pizza in the most recent spot. He's so cute!)

According to Engadget, the new effort is a direct rebuttal to the "Mac vs. PC" ads, which have become part of popular culture. One even starts out with the John Hodgman lookalike saying, "Hello, I'm a PC, and I've been made into a stereotype."

Sounds serious. But it can't all be dire, given the celebrity cameo line-up: Eva Longoria, Pharrell Williams, Deepak Chopra and Bill Gates himself will be appearing in the campaign. (Note the conspicuous absence of a certain comedian whose surname rhymes with "mind meld.")

Like Engadget, I am confused. This whole thing sounds ... planned! The official statement from Microsoft only muddies the waters: "We will be executing the second phase of our advertising campaign tomorrow, as planned from the start."

Either Microsoft is too proud to admit it bowed to public backlash, or it's trickier than we thought. We'll find out soon.

Enjoy what you've read? Subscribe to Adrants Daily and receive the daily contents of this site each day along with free whitepapers.



planned from the start, people

Posted by: Chris on September 18, 2008 12:02 AM

planned from the start, people

Posted by: Chris on September 18, 2008 12:02 AM

planned from the start, people

Posted by: Chris on September 18, 2008 12:03 AM


Posted by: Angela on September 18, 2008 12:36 AM

i think this was definitely planned from the start. most of the publicity they got was fairly positive from the gates seinfeld ads... sure a few people ripped on it (not to point any fingers) but overall i think it was mostly positive buzz.

Posted by: fo sho on September 18, 2008 10:20 AM

Microsoft blinked. I worked a long time at Apple and we knew that the thing that really irks Microsoft is that they could never be as cool as us. So the cool kid beat up on the nerd. If I was Microsoft I'd be content to scoop up my monopolist billions and stop making a fool of itself on the TV and Intertubes.

Posted by: mcthingy2 on September 18, 2008 12:33 PM

Planned from the start, sure? But I am not sure how “positive” the feedback as been, most of what I have read was negative, especially the feedback on YouTube, you know the target audience. Microsoft was trying to establish their cool factor, and they failed. There are not just rolling out phase two, they are doing damage control. The problem with Seinfeld is: he is not relevant enough to be cool, and he has not been gone long enough to be nostalgic, he lives in the gray area of pop culture and that does not work if you are trying to “out cool” your competitor. Who in turn runs a very funny and relevant pizza ad.

Posted by: Terri on September 18, 2008 1:01 PM

What I want to know is, how long before Alex Bogusky "fires" them and grows back the Jesus haircut

Posted by: Splat. on September 18, 2008 3:05 PM

Have we learned nothing from Bud vs. Miller. Never drag your competition into the ring, especially when they only have 3% market-share.

Posted by: Adam Kmiec on September 19, 2008 4:19 PM

Maybe the point of Seinfeld was not to make Gates cool but to make him friendly and accessible.

In the 90's Gates was seen as a reclusive control freak sequestered on his own island that people hated. Nowadays it hard to hate someone who can poke fun of himself and is dedicating most of his time and fortune to philanthropy.

In contrast Jobs has almost in some instances become the parody of himself and is still wearing the same clothes from the 90's.

Maybe the point was to take a long standing negative aspect of the Microsoft brand and turn it into a positive while at the same time taking a historically positive piece of Apple's brand and turn it into a negative.

Posted by: Lance Mokuau on October 23, 2008 4:17 AM