back to article Microsoft dumps hilarious comedy duo

Microsoft has ditched its Jerry Seinfeld-fronted advertising campaign, after everyone thought it was crap. According to Redmond's spinners, dropping the awkward, unfunny, boring ads now "was always the plan", Valleywag reports. A statement yesterday said: "We will be executing the second phase of our advertising campaign …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    OOOOOoiiiiiiieeeeeee

    Oh dear.... oh very dear.... I think Microsoft's 'attempt' at communication was as open as their source code is... Apple must be laughing so much that they will do another set of adds based around this very bad one... It's 4+ mins of pure crap.

  2. sleepy

    Finally, after 2 years . . .

    Microsoft is taking the bait and defending a market it already owns against Apple who aren't even trying to take the PC market from them! Microsoft is confirming it's about PC's. Apple is free to take the mobile device + cloud market unchallenged, with a Mac being your steping stone away from the PC forever.

  3. Gulfie
    Flame

    No surprise here...

    I'm not at all surprised that Microsoft has decided to switch tack. I watched the ad on YouTube and it was incomprehensible, I didn't see any link to Microsoft, Vista or any kind of retaliatory anti-Mac sentiment. In fact no enlightenment about anything related to Microsoft - except that Bill Gates is a US Size 10 and eats Churros. That's not going to persuade me to try Vista even though I have a four core processor and 2Gb of very fast memory in my desktop.

    I did listen to an attempt at explaining the underlying message on the This Week In Technnology podcast (for those interested download episode 159 "that's not my Churro" from twit.tv) and was franky bemused. As a degree educated, open-minded and dare I say intelligent individual I would never have got the 'message' in a thousand viewings.

    The average American (who this commercial was made for) is nowhere near as well educated as their European cousins - I can only imagine that any research into the impact of this advert scored a big fat zero.

    First Mojave (www.mojaveexperiment.com, you have to see it to believe it), now Seinfeld. Its a bit like Vista all over again - whatever Microsoft do they just make things worse!

  4. Dale

    Eva

    Eva Longoria, Pharrell Williams, whoever. Ricky Gervais even. But please, not Gates. You know why not.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wasn't Seinfeld

    a habitual Mac user in the TV series?

  6. John

    Bounced cheques

    Now Jerry should be sure of not having his cheques bounce at the bodega.

    Is there an icon for confused?

  7. Francis Vaughan
    Thumb Down

    What a waste of time

    It appears that we need an icon for "that was so lame it boggles the mind."

    I thought the first ad was setting up some something interesting. Seems I was sadly mistaken.

    If that is the metric of the person "most accomplished person in his respective field" for comedy, it sure sets a low bar for Bill G to match. Maybe that was the point.

    I could use the evil Bill icon, but that wasn't evil, it was just rotten.

  8. BradE

    No, the ads WERE FUNNY! at least for a chuckle.

    You may have missed the humor in the absurdity of a multi millionaire beloved comedian and a billionaire (who is known to be a very serious businessman and life saving charity-for-millions-head) arguing about such silly little things, but the humor was there.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    No MS fanboi but...

    I thought the one with where the giraffe gets moved and the two muppets have to do some punishment by sandpapering, was quite amusing the first time I saw it.

  10. Richard
    Thumb Down

    We're hip, honest.

    "Hey dudez, come get our hip new OS, it's where it's at... Um... Booyaka... sha?"

    I was just sick into my mouth.

  11. Matt Smart
    Thumb Up

    Am I the only person

    ...who actually thinks these ads are funny? They're enjoyable to watch. Who cares if they don't relate to anything? They're clearly building up to something. It'll be interesting to see what comes next.

  12. BradE

    No, the ads WERE FUNNY! at least for a chuckle.

    They were surely funny. A serious billionaire pairing with a full-time comedian? That can be a sitcom right there!

  13. Steve Woods
    Gates Horns

    Wrong duo dumped?

    Not Windows and Office then?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Representing Vista...

    ...hmm...

    How about *that* scene from "Deliverance". The user is the fat bloke and Vista is the yokels.

  15. andy gibson

    Should have employed me...

    The only ad guaranteed to work is "Buy Vista for £10, get £20 cashback"

  16. John Styles

    Where do you want to go today?

    The best Microsoft advert ever, and probably the best hi-tech company advert of all time (from 1995 or thereabouts) can be found on YouTube here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvN5y5ee_-s

    (much better than the annoying smug Apple one with the woman throwing the hammer).

    Note the freaky bit where you see Flight Simulator flying towards the Twin Towers, then see the Twin Towers themselves.

    I always thought 'Where do you want to go today?' was a great slogan, the emphasis was clearly supposed to be on the 'you' i.e. you choose where to go, not us.

  17. Tim
    Gates Horns

    Finally!

    It took them HOW LONG? to find out that seinfeld isnt funny......

  18. Simon
    Paris Hilton

    Such negativity... I loved it!

    I thought that advert was really awesome.

    Paris, because her video was awesome too.

  19. Angus Wood

    The point of the ads

    The point is that Billy Boy comes over as nerdy, uncool but acually quite likeable.

  20. James O'Shea Silver badge
    Gates Horns

    Jerry's a genius

    And to think that I never saw even one of the ads. There _were_ more than one, right? Or did Jer the Genius get $10 mill for just one ad?

  21. James Bassett

    Who?

    I had to just look-up who those two (Eva Longoria and Pharrell Williams) are. I vaguely recognise Longoria but have never heard of anything Williams has apparantly done. So, having switched from a has-been comedian - who was never popular outside of the US in the any case - they are now going to use a model and some kid rapper to promote Vista. Sheesh, I'm a fan of Vista and even I think they are onto a big loser with this.

  22. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
    Coat

    What were they on?

    I did not bother to look at earlier links to these adds (?) but could not resist clicking play on the one posted here. After just 40 or so seconds, I could not watch any more of it. It is embarassing.

    What on earth were these people thinking (if anything at all)? Everybody in the clip sounds like the local amateur drama society at the first rehearsal (I know, I have been a member). It's the kind of hesitant way of speaking you get when the lines do not make sense to you. In good scripts, this feeling vanishes as you get into your part. In this script, I doubt it ever disappears.

    I'm with Marvin: I get a headache trying to think down at THEIR level.

  23. Jared Earle
    Jobs Horns

    Admission of inferiority?

    If you're in second place, you're allowed to mention first place. If you're in first place, never refer to the competition; you don't need to.

    Microsoft's plan to "take on Apple" is admission that they no longer feel in control.

    Steve Jobs must be sitting in his secret lair, cackling like Blofeld.

  24. Evil Graham
    Stop

    Good. They were shit.

    Like watching a drunken uncle break dancing at a wedding.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    monsters?

    "Are there any monsters in the story?"

    Yes, it's called "Vista".

  26. phat shantz

    When you have nothing to say, say it

    Microsoft's "When you have nothing to say, say it" ad campaign was very "Vista" like. It wasted money, was confusing, showcased Microsoft's incompetence, had no content, fell flat, and was removed from criticism at the first opportunity.

    The earlier ad campaign could be summarized this way:

    "When you have ugly children, don't take pictures." (Show your O/S to strangers and non-professionals to garner praise.)

    The up-coming ad campaign -- following Microsoft's corporate response to industry criticism of Vista -- should attack Apple. The tag-line for the next ad campaign should be:

    "When you fail, blame the winners."

    If Microsoft paid 10,000 highly-creative people to come up with a way to sell their desktop operating system, at least one of them should have suggested...

    "Stop selling crap and start selling something that works."

    XP Pro comes immediately to mind.

  27. Roger Lancefield
    Thumb Down

    Wake me up when it's over. Zzzzz

    "Amoeba with a blog"? Ooooh! You really feel that criticism and lack of love, don't you Bill?

    Grandma apart, desperately unfunny. It's symbolic, Microsoft has nothing to say: no message, no audience, no relevance, no charisma. A creative void and utterly pointless. Thank god they're no longer spending my money on such futility.

  28. Phil Williams
    Unhappy

    Axing Seinfeld?!

    Ah, c'mon! Those adverts were blooming brilliant! Though, reading through the comments on youtube, it seems like the masses didn't really get it... Don't worry Billy, I'm here for you.

  29. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    In another statement from Redmend ...

    "Vista was always meant to be slower than a squashed slug. We will be executing the second phase of our operating system campaign next decade, as planned from the start. We plan to sell twice as many licenses for Windows 7. It will require a dual CPU main board, and you will need one license per CPU."

  30. yeah, right.

    Really...

    For a while there I actually thought the ad was deliberately bad. It got people talking about Microsoft and Vista much more than any good ad would have done. Thought it was a setup for a punchline we hadn't heard yet.

    Guess you really can't teach an old Microsoft new tricks after all. They put out crap, and they stay crap.

    Now, where can I find a pair of those Conquistadors? Because that was the real goal of the ad, wasn't it?

  31. Roger Williams
    Linux

    Full marks for the accuracy of the analogy, though

    Without question, the funniest thing about the adverts was techmuse's observation that

    "although the ad does not mention Microsoft's operating system directly, it does mirror the real world experience of the company's products — appearing where not wanted, hard to remove, causing administration headaches, and finally being forced out in hopes of getting one's living space back."

  32. Marvin the Martian
    Flame

    I haven't seen the ads, but

    <I thought the one with where the giraffe gets moved and the two muppets have to do some punishment by sandpapering, was quite amusing the first time I saw it.>

    Moving giraffes is obviously core to Vista, igeddit. Hm, Maybe (confused) bunnies would have been more appropriate.

    We need a bunny icon, obviously. Flames because they make bunnies tasty (after skinning). Hmm... lapin a la flamande.

  33. Jonathan Tate
    Gates Halo

    Aww... it wasn't that bad.

    Though the first one was bizarre and kinda boring, I never saw the one in this article on TV. After watching it just now I actually thought it was pretty funny.

  34. Roger Lancefield
    Happy

    Loving one's captor

    Hilarious. Microsoft permit holders claiming that no one else gets it (again) while each offers his own interpretation.

    Many did the same thing when Vista was released. One can only assume that they are suffering from a software user equivalent of Stockholm Syndrome.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    and tv series are coming

    just think about it....

    no no no...just think.

    now scream until you cannot do so.

    and they ask why i do not watch tv

  36. Jodo Kast
    Joke

    The Seinfeld Commercials

    The Seinfeld commercials were great. The problem was, people were trying to "analyze" them, instead of enjoying the humor.

    Blame the people; they just don't get comedy!

    I'm sure Microsoft saw the ridiculous "analyses" that were getting posted, and decided .... "wow, they just don't get it, do they?"

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    shame

    I thought they were pretty funny in a bit of an obscure way. It's a shame that a lot of people don't seem to get it. I would have liked to have seen where they were going with it.

  38. Paul

    I saw part of one of these ads. It was like a bad trip flashback.

    Mercifully all I remember about it was something to do with clowns and an ID card or suchlike with what looked like BillG's DUI mugshot on it.

    Confusing, expensive, messy, the people responsible think it's great but hardly anyone else "gets it", Apple are probably laughing their asses off after seeing it and it features a bad driver (a drunken 1970's Gates). So, it's the perfect ad for Vista! Top job boys!

    As for the Mojave "experiment", I'm sure Microsoft can get Vista to run well, they wrote the damn thing after all. The problem is when you go home and try to run it in a straight out of the box configuration on your not-quite-as-optimum-as-you'd-think PC.

    All that ad says, or rather screams, is "Hey guys! Please buy Vista, it's not as shit as you think it is! Look at the scientific experiment we did to prove it!"

    Maybe Shuttleworth should bankroll a similar ad, only after everyone's gone "ooh, ahh, wow" they get told that they've been using Ubuntu for the last half hour, and not Windows Sahara like they were told.

  39. Nomen Publicus
    Gates Halo

    marketing saying

    If you have a good product, show the product.

    If you have a good brand, show the brand.

    If you have neither, show a picture of the boss.

  40. andy
    Alien

    part of a bigger plan?

    I don't know if they were serious with this ad or not, but it's certainly got people talking. Not just here, the story's also heavily commented on several other sites.

    If you make an ad which is one extreme (really great or really crap) then it gets people talking about THE COMPANY behind it. It doesn't matter what product they're trying to promote. MS have openly admitted that Vista didn't turn out the way they expected, I guess this might be to try and keep the focus on them... "we're still here and there's more to come". The way they dumped this ad will keep them in focus if people keep going to Youtube (or wherever) to see "that" MS advert. I might be completely wrong though!

  41. Christian Berger Silver badge

    Yes, but what is the message?

    I mean sure, those videos have their humourous or at least bizarre moments, but what's the message that Microsoft wants to convey?

    Do they want to link their company to the PC? Didn't Microsoft leave the PC business in the mid 90s when Windows slowly drifted out of public view beeing replaced by the Internet as the next cool thing?

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Funny commercials? And Vista was cool...

    ..at least for a while but as time goes they are all just annoying.

    I tried to like it/them, I really did. Yet I kept seeing the commercial during my favorite shows and I can't remove Vista because the vendor put some useful (Gasp!) - or at least neat - third party stuff on my laptop that I would hate to lose.

    (And yes, it dual boots Linux. I built in my escape clause for those times when Vista starts being buggy and I need to get away for a while. Strangely it usually clears up on patch Tuesdays.)

  43. Alastair
    Thumb Up

    Um... I liked them.

    I kind of thought they were funny. I know, I'm a social outcast. (I mean, I'm a social outcast even amongst geeks). I'll get my anorak.

  44. P. Lee Silver badge
    Joke

    Did no-one watch JS's shows first?

    Wasn't JS's show always about nothing? "All sound and fury, signifying nothing?"

    A match made in heaven for vista then!

    With an extra 10m, the comedian gets the last laugh too!

    Icon: Vista ready

  45. Henry Cobb
    Gates Horns

    Stop the insanity

    The problem is not in the ads.

    The problem is in the value destruction instead of the value ad.

    Microsoft is pouring billions into redeveloping basic operating system kernels over and over again while Apple gets theirs free.

    Once Balmy is booed out the next Micro-chief needs to start with one question.

    "What has the rest of the world already worked out for us that we can get cheap or free and then provide a value add on top of that?"

    Until then the freetards will continue to eat away at their business as if they were a music company.

  46. Kevin Turnquist
    Stop

    @ Gulfie

    "The average American (who this commercial was made for) is nowhere near as well educated as their European cousins - I can only imagine that any research into the impact of this advert scored a big fat zero."

    Not that it probably isn't true, but citation, please?

    Are you counting all of Europe? Or just where you happen to be?

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    WINDOZE ME2 IS A FAILURE

    Bill - not funny, not entertaining, no longer productive - just rich and irrelevant

    Jerry - not funny, not entertaining - never was either - just rich and irrelevant

    Windows Vista - piece of SHITE out the door and still is

    Windows 7 - More SHITE heaped on top of Vista

    Paris - not funny, not entertaining - just rich and irrelevant

  48. TimM
    Thumb Up

    awkward, unfunny, boring

    Yep, that's what I've always felt of Seinfeld.

  49. Mad Hacker
    Thumb Up

    pissing contest

    I'll be curious to see what new funny commercials Apple responds with and then Microsoft after that and then Apple again.

    This could get really entertaining! Remember the Cola wars?

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Finally

    Someone put to rest the whole idea of these ads. Neither ad was clever, funny, made a point, or was even marginally amusing. Much like the general windows experience the ads were just painful.

  51. David Kelly

    $300m

    You have to hand it to the ad agency, getting paid £300m to film a lot of nothing is pretty good going. They could have just stuck Bill in the Big Bother house.

  52. stizzleswick
    Dead Vulture

    @everybody who liked the ads

    Well, they were funny in places. Granted. But this is not light entertainment, it's supposed to be advertising. I.e., selling something. Is there anybody who can, after having watched the "ads," tell me what they were supposed to sell to the viewer?

    The only thing I can imagine wanting to buy after one of those ads is a matched set of a blindfold and earplugs. Or maybe an "off" switch for the boob tube.

    Guess I have to agree with those who saw the Vista analogy: those ads are a complete waste of time and money, and make absolutely no sense at all.

  53. Jesse Dorland
    Linux

    Big deal

    I was looking forward of seeing this ads, but I have decided not to watch. Seinfeld has lost his apeal in the public, just as Friends, and other 90s sitcoms. Of course we have idiotic shows like "The Office", and "Lost", and they will lose their popularity just as it has happened to all previous shows.

    Linux built in the past, and is ready for future.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    The punchline is obvious

    After several more adverts showing BG and Jerry's confusing travels around the world they finally get to London. The scene is a head shot of them discussing the virtues of Vista over Mac/Linux. The camera turns as a bell on the door rings and a ridiculously good looking young male model walks into what is now clearly a laundromat in the east end - yes you know where this is going. The model takes off his shirt and jeans, and puts them in the washer with a bag of rocks as the blue hairs gawp. Bill leans over to Jerry and says "I bet he's a Vista user." To which Jerry replies "Nah, I can see his Hardy Heron."

  55. Moss Icely Spaceport
    Thumb Down

    Seinfeld?

    The guys about as funny as, errrr Bill Gates!

  56. Gulfie

    @Kevin Turnquist

    There is a small but significant proportion of the US population who are well educated, including many who visit this site. My apologies to you, please don't taking this personally.

    In the US, European qualifications have a higher standing than their local equivalent, a US Masters degree generally reguarded as equivalent to a UK Honours degree and a UK Masters degree viewed as superior to its US equivalent. And of course some areas of the country are 'educating' their children in the 'science' of Intelligent Design.

    Beyond the well-educated minority, people, as in Europe, get their knowledge from the TV. Over here we get the best of the US TV shows, so you can imagine how good the rest is. As a country the US is very insular - non-US news gets a very short slot at the end of a (say) 30 minute news show and a lot of that is of the 'and finally' variety, and even then is frequently featured only because the US is involved in some way. Your average working class American is, unfortunately, educated to a lower standard, fed lower standard entertainment and is not very well informed about the rest of the world. The fact that religion still has a big hold in the country is a sign of all of this - well-educated people question more and are less likely to accept religious teachings at face value. Some states are like a large ghost town on a Sunday because large swathes of the population go to church. I'm not saying that belief is wrong or bad, just more prevalant in a poorly educated society.

    You asked how I can make these judgements. Well I spent the best part of a year living and working in the US a few years ago. The ignorance of the outside world - that beyond the US border - of the average US citizen is truly frightning but you have to experience it firsthand for a while to appreciate how bad it is. The only redeeming feature is that with their current approach to education and the reporting of current affairs the US is likely to fade in influence over the years. Which is just as well when people like George Bush Jr can get almost elected as the most powerful person in the world...

  57. Viktor
    Joke

    About IT ads

    This is how you advertise - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8s3OFxrfVug

    Everything needs more John Cleese.

  58. Maryland, USA

    Jerry thought the commercials were funny

    He's laughing all the way to the bank.

  59. multipharious

    Esoteric

    These ads had so many little details and situations that were humorous and infinitely quotable. If you missed the details watch the ads again. I could list them, but I enjoy in a smug sort of way you not getting humor then whining about it, but hey, at least you are in good company.

    Esoteric ads are just fine with me. Who says advertising has to be about anything?

  60. Tom B Tek

    @ Gulfie

    I've attended a public school in Gloucestershire (for US readers that ironically means an elite, expensive, usually boarding school), a comprehensive in Coventry, a high school in Ohio, and state unis in both countries, so I speak from experience.

    Europeans better educated? - Bollocks. The products of comprehensive's are, by and large, condemed to a lifetime of blissful ignorance. I could go on and on as to why but it's not worth it.

    The sad fact is both Euros and Yanks are getting their arses handed to them by the Asians. I currently work for a US engineering firm, run by a bunch of brits, with half its divisional HQs in asia. We all know who the powerhouses of the 21st century are going to be. So arguing "I'm smarter than you 'cus I know there's no god" is like pissing into the wind - you're going to end up just as wet as anyone.

  61. Snert Lee

    Message?

    Here's my favorite reinterpretation of the ads is here: http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2008/9/15/ The fact it was noticed in wide ranging venues says enough as to the real why-fors of advertising.

    Bur for an alternative, probably unintended association, consider that after Billg steals the giraffe, he agrees that he has a connection with the family "in a way", just like they've connected with over a billion people. i.e. connected by way of petty theft.

  62. elderlybloke
    Paris Hilton

    The Stars

    Who are these two stars/celebrates who are going to do the ads.

    I have never heard of them, but that's not surprising as I don't give a shit about the above types .

    I know of the one whom I shoos as a fitting icon

  63. Charles Manning

    Tanked... Just like Vista

    Supposed to be funny,,, NOT

    Supposed to be edgy... NOT

    Supposed to be memorable... NOT LIKE THAT!

    MS completely misunderstands the market... JUST LIKE VISTA.

    MS will blame the market for not being ready for new and innovative offerings... JUST LIKE VISTA.

    MS will blame Dell - he was supposed to show up in the car park and make the joke work.... JUST LIKE VISTA.

    MS will be sweeping this mess under the carpet... JUST LIKE VISTA.

    The next MS shareholder's meeting will be fun: "So Microsoft Management, you spent $5bn generating an OS that nobody wants - in fact they'd rather buy the old one, but you would not let them. Then you give a Known Mac Fanboi $10m to make puke inducing videos that nobody wants to watch, in fact the TV stations refused to show it because it caused people to switch channels or run to the bog. Perhaps you should take a few world cruises."

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    the actor with a 'Show about Nothing'...

    Performs in an ad for an OS with nothing. The best thing about this entire lame-o series was Seinfeld. That and watchings Gates crash something other than your computer (see the family who's house the inhabited).

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