The weirdness buzz grows Microsoft’s Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates “Buddy” Ad Review No. 2

Posted by tom klein September 12, 2008 at 6:15 amtelevision


from the baitshop

At the risk of overloading you with Microsoft news, there’s a second and even stranger Microsoft buddy ad that just came out, featuring Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates. In this one, Jerry and Bill are hanging out with a family, trying to get a sense of what normal people do (because of course they’re both so loaded that they don’t have a grip on reality).  You could say that they’re conducting an ethnographic observation (something that our friend Don Norman would no doubt approve of!).  If you were hoping for the punch line . . . you’ll be disappointed.

who’s it for?

The traditional Microsoft target is the CIO.  This is not targeted at the corporate buyer. As soon as they get to some kind of message, maybe the target will be clear. It’s probably oriented toward a younger, tech savvy audience.

why is it being done?

Have you upgraded to Vista? Yeah, that problem. How many of you Zune owners out there?

are the fish biting?

Fishes are standing there with there mouths opening and closing. Huh?

where to from here?

Wait around for ad no. 3 or something else to deliver the real message. Of course, check out the first ad if you haven’t seen it yet.

If you believe the gossipy Valleywag, Microsoft has decided not to move forward with this line of creative.

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A commercial about . . . nothing Microsoft’s Shoe Carnival – Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates – TV ad

Posted by tom klein September 11, 2008 at 8:31 amtelevision

from the baitshop

Microsoft has been Apple’s punching bag for what seems like forever. Apple has invested hundreds of millions of dollars behind both the I’m a Mac ads as well as the ubiquitous iPod ads. We’re so cool . . . it’s painful. Lumbering giant Microsoft saw its weird VIsta launch fall flat. On the other hand, its Zune ads were actually much cooler than the product.

Microsoft has brought in the big gun – Jerry Seinfeld – in an effort to make its brand more relevant, and assumedly to address the thousands of slights dished out by the folks in Cupertino.

When you spend a few hundred million bucks and you’re the giant in the business, anything you do gets attention. This ad does that, though it doesn’t really sell much of anything.  Jerry Seinfeld has a weird series of interactions with Bill Gates in a shoe store and the parking lot afterwards.

This is no doubt setting up a series of ads that we can only hope make more sense. This doesn’t tickle the funny bone, doesn’t make much sense, and isn’t something that we want to see over and over again. We are talking about it, but I’m not sure that conversation alone is enough to address Microsoft’s brand deficits. Only time will tell if this turns into something more interesting – but the pilot episode doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence.

who’s it for?

The Microsoft target is the CIO.  Remember that Jerry Seinfeld is actually TOO OLD and has been off the air for too long to be relevant to Gen Y.

why is it being done?

Have you upgraded to Vista? Yeah, that problem. How many of you Zune owners out there?

are the fish biting?

Well, there’s some chatter, but the fish are probably just scratching their little heads with their fins, wondering what sort of drugs were involved.

where to from here?

The truth is out there. Well, maybe.

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What a wonderful world Don’t Know Much (about the economy) TV ad review

Posted by tom klein August 25, 2008 at 4:40 pmcheck my bait, election 2008, television

from the baitshop

Well, we’re past the season of niceness and biographies. Now is when the fun begins. Everyone knew that this quote would come back to haunt Senator McCain. And so, here it is.

This ad features a well-known, though somewhat dated tune by Sam Cooke.  Even though neither candidate seems to know that much about business (well, neither, it seems, has ever managed a business), it’s always fun to catch a politician in a moment of unscripted candor. Ads like this should teach everyone a lesson.

Yes, and for anyone feeling cranky and slighted, we realize that a President can’t possibly know everything about everything.

This ad tries to do too much and would have been stronger if it had stayed focused on explaining why John McCain was RIGHT when said that he didn’t know much about economic issues (if that is in fact the main point of the ad).

who’s it for?

The much coveted swing and undecided voter.

why is it being done?

The other shoe had to drop. There it goes.

are the fish biting?

Hard to say, though shouldn’t Senator McCain at least get some credit for being honest (or maybe he was pretending to be honest – drat, how can you ever know)?

where to from here?

More ads to come, though only the swingers will see them.

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Back to basics John McCain biography TV ad review

Posted by tom klein July 28, 2008 at 9:59 amelection 2008, television


from the baitshop

McCain is nothing if not the biography candidate. This TV ad delivers that biography, juxtaposing a wounded and tortured McCain shot down over Vietnam with long-haired, sybaritic hippies who definitely do inhale. Too bad Senator Obama couldn’t be shown in stark contrast soaking in Woodstock or some other hedonistic festival. The point is that in 1968 Senator Obama had just entered . . . the first grade.

who’s it for?

This ad tells the McCain biography for those who don’t know it. Surprisingly, Senator McCain has made no mention of the fact that his son is currently serving in Iraq.

why is it being done?

Introduce the candidate and explain his bona fides in national defense and security matters.

are the fish biting?

Those electoral fish can be tricky. It seems that the swing states are too close to call, though there’s much talk of a press corps love affair with the other guy.

where to from here?

While these ads are nice, the real battle will happen when the campaign moves beyond biography.

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Patriot games Obama’s Country I Love tv ad review

Posted by tom klein July 3, 2008 at 4:23 pmelection 2008, television

from the baitshop

The TV ad war has begun. First shot fired by the Obama camp with this biographical ad. It addresses in one swoop numerous kefuffles – from the flag pin to the elitist “clinging to guns” comment and I’m sure several in between. While it may seem surprising that anyone who’s not a potted plant already knows him, rest assured that most of the country doesn’t really know much about Senator Obama. Ergo, this introduction and history helps introduce the candidate to that part of the country that’s been just going to work and doing their job, as opposed to following the primaries.

who’s it for?

Surprisingly, this ad isn’t just for purple and blue states. They’re investing in some of the other varieties, with hopes of putting more in play than the usual handful of folks from that state that’s high in the middle and round on the ends.

why is it being done?

Introduce the candidate and start the campaign against McCain.

are the fish biting?

TV ads are expensive, especially when compared to what is, I am not making this up, 24 hour coverage on cable. I’m sure the pollsters are seeing that these ads and helping folks to get to know Senator Obama.

where to from here?

Well, hold on to your hats, there’s about half a billion dollars of media spending on its way.

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