Friday, September 12, 2008

Seinfeld & Bill Gates "Perpetually Connecting"

Silly me always thought that "PC" stood for "Personal Computer". Nope, it appears that, according to the second Seinfeld/Bill Gates new campaign TV commercial, it now means "Perpetually Connecting". Hey, he's Bill Gates. If he decides to change the meaning to an acronym, than he can.

While I was left scratching my head at the first commercial in this new campaign, which saw Gates and Seinfeld meet in a shoe store (and oddly had me thinking Ed O'Neil's character Al Bundy in Married...With Children meets weird guy on the street in NYC), this one is slightly better. Apparently it debuted last night during Big Brother (which I was tuned into), but I guessed I missed it due to my PVR habits of fast forwarding through the commercials. Nevertheless, I did find a 4:30 copy on YouTube. I'm not sure which portion actually ran on live TV (perhaps the entire story in several 1-minute segments?) Either way, here's my take.

While I get the concept: conversations about "nothing" just like the show Seinfeld, I wonder how effective it can be in a 1:30 commercial versus a 30-minute sitcom. Sure, watching a series of the commercials will probably eventually tie the loose ends together, but aren't commercials supposed to make a bang? The instant I saw the first Mac vs. PC commercial from Apple, I got it. I laughed. There was no question of the intent. With every commercial thereafter, I still get it, I still laugh at each one individually, and there is a clear connection between them all. Subtlety, it seems, doesn't quite cut it for this viewer.

With that said, I will give some kudos to this second commercial, which puts Gates and Seinfeld in the home of a "regular" family in an effort to connect to "real" people. There are some humorous moments, like when Gates gives the bratty teenage girl a snarky look and spits out the double entendre that she's not so "real". Or when the mom and dad, on separate occasions, confide in Seinfeld that they have money hidden from one another.

But there's no real reference to computers or computing, period, other than a small sequence where Gates plays video games with the family son and alludes to the secrecy of the obviously fantastic game they're engaged in. And then there's the ending where, like in the first commercial, Seinfeld asks Gates to give him a signal if there's more to come from Microsoft (this time, Gates attempts the "robot" instead of shaking his bootie").

I think the commercial would have had more of an effect if the "nothing" theme extended to a PC experience, like Gates trying to show the mom how to use Vista, or walking the daughter through a new blog or social networking page. Naturally, humour would need to be included. Seinfeld could be looking on, asking why you need a PC anyway, and Gates could show him as Seinfeld throws back one comical refute after another. Perhaps where the subtlely should lie is in taking a dig at Apple or two within this process, but perhaps that would be too much like Apple's strategy.

On that note, too bad Microsoft couldn't get the entire Seinfeld cast involved, each playing his signature character. Now that would have been a hoot!

If you so desire, the entire commercial can be viewed here:

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Anonymous said...

so this is what 300 million dollars buys these days, so lame, I think these two should pack it in and go to Florida.

Anonymous said...

The Mac commercials are horrible. They play down to a petty level where companies dig each other.
Much like the political farce in N. America, I don't need to see companies/individuals try to make themselves feel better by making someone else look bad.

Mac, I think, looks petty and not confident of it's abilities if it has to point out the flaws of other people to make itself look better.

The Mac commercials could easily have been as effective by portraying their ease of use without digging into Vista and MS.

My 2cents.

That said, I'm not quite sure what MS is trying to do with these ads. They are funny, but I haven't seen the larger picture yet, although they are creating buzz which is never a bad thing.

Lee_D said...

It could be worse, they could be spending this money on Vista, obfuscating it further!