Microsoft Debuts Seinfeld Vista Ad, Critics Puzzled

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft has aired the first in a series of ads featuring Jerry Seinfeld, former star of the popular 90s sitcom, "Seinfeld". Although he's guaranteed $10 million for the gig, Seinfeld's impact on Vista sales is yet unknown, and the campaign itself has done little to win over the mainstream media.

The Seinfeld campaign is part of a $300 million marketing blitz to resurrect Vista's damaged image. Other tactics include comparing sceptics to people who once believed the Earth was flat, and a series of videos showing members of the public reacting positively to a presentation of 'Mojave', a 'new' operating system which they were unaware was actually Vista.

The first ad (which you can now view on YouTube) is utterly baffling. Clocking in at 90 seconds (three times the standard ad slot), it features Seinfeld and Bill Gates trying on shoes and exchanging small talk.

That's it.

There's no mention of Vista, Windows, or indeed any specifics about computing. The only new information is Gates supposedly agreeing to Seinfeld's request that Microsoft come up "with something moist and chewy like cake".

There are reports this is designed as a teaser for future ads, but this first spot appears to have fallen into the marketing world's trap of getting lots of attention for its creativity but completely failing to put across a message. That's particularly strange given that many people expected this to be a fight back against the aggressive "PC vs Mac" campaign run by Apple. (Source:

Admittedly, the new ad has got people talking about Windows, but that's not necessarily a good thing. Indeed, the New York Times' business columnist Joe Nocera yesterday suggested Windows could soon be redundant. (Source:

Nocera's beef is that most users no longer necessarily need one particular operating system. He highlights Google's new 'Chrome' browser, along with the firm's online-based office tools, as evidence that many people could soon find a non-Windows system much more practical.

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