Missed opportunity Microsoft’s ads – Seinfield & Gates

When I first saw the Jerry Seinfield and Bill Gates Microsoft ads, I thought they were ridiculous and a massive waste of money (nearly as big as the new Commonwealth Bank ads). However, after seeing the second ad in the series, I’m starting to understand why this is a brilliant idea.

Having worked on Microsoft for 4years I know that consumers love to hate Microsoft – not only a little bit, but they love moaning and complaining about everything that Microsoft does. The brilliance of this idea stems from Microsoft trying to understand consumers and be a more human. Not sure how believable it is, but it is still a good attempt to get two very well know people to show Microsoft are starting to listen/understand consumers.

Personally, I think CPB could extend this campaign making it more global and show that Microsoft are listening to all customers around the world. Microsoft divide their regions into two separate areas: G7 and G29. It would be great to show Jerry and Bill understanding the other G7 countries that Microsoft spends a lot of money in: Australia, UK, Asia, etc. I can already imagine the token ads for each country, but they would show Microsoft was listening.


After looking at both ads, I spent some time looking for how this campaign has been replicated/translated online on the Microsoft Window’s related sites (Windows Vista blog, Windows Mobile, Windows, Windows Live). After visiting them all, there is very little that extends past the TVCs and press releases (see below) – very disappointing.

Without knowing the brief and the objectives, I am guessing this is a new brand/awareness/engagement campaign focused on increasing the attactment to and engagement with Microsoft. Because this is an engagement piece (guessing), there is a huge opportunity for additional content to be created. Some initial thoughts are:

  • Travel blog from Jerry or Bill describing and detailing what they have learned from their travels and the families they have stayed with. It would also be a great place to detail what they are trying to find out from the families they are visiting.
  • YouTube channel showing Jerry/Bill interviewing the families that they stay with. This could be a standard set of questions or something random depending on the family.
  • Google maps mash up showing the Jerry/Bill travels, particularly if this goes international.
  • Website promoting user generated content that invites families to be part of the campaign and express their current Microsoft behaviours and what Jerry/Bill could learn from their family. This would be great from a market research perspective and could lead to a Microsoft usage survey.
  • PR and articles around the Microsoft behaviours from the above.
  • Social networks and groups set up to determine where Jerry/Bill should go next.

Obviously, all of these are just thoughts and don’t give any consideration to campaign budgets, objectives or things that are in the pipeline.

Microsoft Windows home page

Microsoft Windows home page

Microsoft Windows Vista Blog

Microsoft Windows Vista Blog

Microsoft Windows Mobile home page

Microsoft Windows Mobile home page

Microsoft Windows Live home page

Microsoft Windows Live home page

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5 Responses to Missed opportunity Microsoft’s ads – Seinfield & Gates

  1. Can’t agree. It’s a lame campaign, Dominique. Lame and strategically flawed. I reckon it’ll be off air as soon as the research is in and Seinfeld’s contract is over.

  2. Mick Gow says:

    I think Dom “get’s it” 🙂 MS would have a tough time with the blank statement “we’re cool” – the approach is subtle, and it’s just the beginning of something that won’t happen over night. It’s a gentle “hey you, we’re starting to listen friend”. I don’t think the target audience is the un-savvy end user – the target is the people that the un-savvy end user listen to (their tech savvy friends – the 30-something Seinfeld fans), who need a subtle approach. This is a totally different tactic/audience/approach than mohaveexperiment.

  3. Mark Baartse says:

    Getting into it late here…

    The question I always have is: what difference does this make *to the company*? Are they just empty statements, essentially spin? As with Dom I have no current inside knowledge.

    I’m skeptical about the vista blog. Is it a REAL blog (anyone who has read the cluetrain manifesto would understand – authentic voice, genuine conversation, etc), or is it just blorketing (blog + marketing), to be abandoned when the product is old or the people are bored (authentic blogs don’t have briefs and budgets).

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