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September 5, 2015

Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld go to Shoe Circus - VIDEO

by Brett Love, posted Sep 5th 2008 10:00AM

Bill Gates and Jerry SeinfeldWe talked about this when they announced that Jerry Seinfeld had signed on to promote Windows for Microsoft. If you were watching the big NFL kickoff Thursday night, you might have seen what that looked like. If you missed it, it's embedded after the jump. I've watched the commercial a few times now, and I'm torn. I agreed with Brad's take in the original post, that Seinfeld may be a few years past the point of ideal pitchman.

That being said, the first half of the commercial is quirky, and pretty funny. The idea of stumbling on Bill Gates in a discount shoe shop is an amusing place to start. And Gates does a good job as the straight man for Seinfeld. I really like the odd cut to the family watching through the glass. "They run tight." It all pays off nicely with that familiar image of Gates on his Platinum Shoe Circus Clown Club card. It loses steam when they leave the mall. A moist and chewy cake computer? I think the writers got tripped up by the iffy tag. The future. Delicious.

The problem is... while it's funny, does it actually do anything to help sell anyone Windows? If someone isn't already on the Windows bandwagon, I don't know that this is going to bring them any closer. Perhaps it does loosen up the stuffy image of Microsoft a bit, but an honest nod to some of the mistakes made with Vista, and acknowledging that they are fixing them, might carry more weight. As a first go though, it's better than I expected.

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I loved it. Of course, I have an entire blog dedicated to shoe-related humor and trivia:


September 07 2008 at 9:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The day I'll stop using Windows XP will be the day I'll start OS X or Ubuntu as my new working environment.

Vista finally showed me that Windows is Bloatware. Never has a system been that unusable. The only thing I could compare it to is Netscape 4 and later.

And this ad doesn't help in any way. If you continue the analogy, Vista is a spongecake 12 by 8 feet with so much sugar it will make you sweat like a pig when you eat it and feeling bloated when you are done, all with throwing up now and then in between the several servings it will take you to get it down.

Vista is bloatware. Stay with XP. Or get a Mac or install Ubuntu if you can. The problem I have is all my peripherals as well as gaming. But that's where virtual machines come into play. Funny enough, a simpulated XP computer under Ubuntu still feels faster than native Vista on the same machine.

September 06 2008 at 10:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to StillBash's comment
Eric H

Ohhhh sooo bloated, tool. I am running Vista in an office environment, on new and old hardware with at least 75% less tech questions than before. But that ok, keep repeating everything you read on Slashdot.

September 09 2008 at 1:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
David Blomstrom

I'd say this ad confirms what many people have long suspected - that Bill Gates isn't just eccentric; he's mental. Only a kook would approve such an ad. To me it suggested two aging, overweight nerds struggling with Alzheimers in a shoe store.

I'll have more to say about this anti-M$ ad campaign on my Bill Gates knol at http://knol.google.com/k/david-blomstrom/bill-gates/1i6e04re3w2kp/4#

September 05 2008 at 8:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree that the ad, while funny, didn't do anything to get people interested in MS products.

@dukrous: yes, the series may continue and end up being more on point, but it needed to do SOMETHING to establish the "characters" relationship to the product. Think of the John Hodgeman/Justin Long Mac ads: a long-running series, that made its point from the first spot, while still allowing us to get to know its characters.

September 05 2008 at 4:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Karen's comment
Eric H

If the point was lies, the Apple Mac/PC ads contain about 40% truth on a good day. I have no idea why they haven't been sued for them.

September 09 2008 at 1:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Allison Solow

I thought it was a dud. I didn't find it funny or clever or even a good way to promote Microsoft/Windows. Their Mojave commercials were better in fact, because they underscore that if you're using Vista correctly, you have a great OS (according to them.)

I think this commercial comes up short, especially compared to the Mac/PC series. Those ads continue to work brilliantly, IMHO.

September 05 2008 at 3:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It's amazing how many people just missed the point of the commercial. They're trying to set up the relationship of the characters and the tone of the commercials. Once you get past the fact that Seinfeld and Gates are in it and it's a self-mocking humorous ad setting, you can get into Windows and Microsoft products in general. Until the audience trusts the ad, you won't get results.

September 05 2008 at 2:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Am I the only one who has had a positive experience using Vista? Seems like everyone hates it.

September 05 2008 at 12:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
4 replies to ac's comment
Joel Keller

The funniest part of the ad, at least as far as I was concerned, was when Gates held up his Shoe Circus frequent-buyer card with his college-era picture on it. Not because of the picture, mind you, but because it's pretty well-known around tech circles that Gates is very careful with his money, despite his billions.

September 05 2008 at 11:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Joel Keller's comment
Rex from Ars

That's actually a MUG SHOT of Bill Gates!

Back when Microsoft was headquartered in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Bill was once arrested for driving his Porsche at something like 150+ mph.

So, in my opinion, that makes it even funnier!

You can see the mug shot for yourself at thesmokinggun.com

September 05 2008 at 12:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Kind of reminded me of the AmEx ads that featured Seinfeld and Superman.

I predict this ad campaign will help to soften the image of Microsoft, but it probably won't help increase sales of Vista. However, it could keep Microsoft's reputation in good graces with the consumer until (whenever) the company brings out the next version of Windows.

September 05 2008 at 11:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joey Geraci

Yea, the computer will look delectable, cost a fortune, but will sour on first bite.

Whereas Microsoft's will look like something from your supermarket discount aisle, and cost similarly, but it will feed you for a week.

September 05 2008 at 10:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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