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Gates, Seinfeld, Yada, Yada

The first commercial in the Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates Microsoft ad campaign debuted last night, leaving viewers wondering what they'd just saw.

The 90-second ad (which you can find on YouTube or Microsoft's Website) takes place in a discount shoe store called "Shoe Circus: Quality shoes at discount prices." Seinfeld sees Gates in the store and, eventually, ends up helping Gates pick out a pair of size 10 Conquistadors.

The discussion between the two centers around whether or not Seinfeld is feeling Gates' toe and if Gates showers with his clothes on, because, as Seinfeld puts it, "You're dressed and you're clean."

Sound kind of odd? It was.

The highlight of the commercial comes when a Shoe Circus clerk asks if Gates is a Shoe Circus Clown Club member. Indeed, Gates is a Platinum member and pulls out his ID card—which just happens to have a picture of a young William Gates' mug shot.

His mother must be so proud.

But I guess when you're one of the richest men in the world, recently retired from one of the biggest and most important companies in the world, and have plans to eradicate malaria from the planet Earth, even Mom—or Newman—will give you a little bit of leeway.

The commercial ends with Seinfeld and Gates walking out of the mall into a parking lot. Seinfeld, earning every bit of the money Microsoft is paying, asks Gates with a straight face: "You know, I imagine over the years you've mind-melded your magnum Jupiter brain to those other Saturn ring brains at Microsoft."

Gates, who really doesn't say much through the whole commercial, deadpans: "I have."

Seinfeld then goes on to ask whether or not "they" will come out with something that will make computers moist and chewy, like cake. If it's true, he asks Gates to adjust his shorts. Which he does. Awkwardly. The two then stroll off as the Microsoft logo appears on the screen. It's interesting that during the mind-meld, magnum Jupiter brain exchange comes the only mention of Microsoft or computers. Say what you will about Apple vs. PC commercials, at least the message is clear. Microsoft's ad was thin on substance, message or even branding.

So where does the ad campaign go from here? We can only hope that this signals the beginning of the crazy antics of Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld. Who knows, maybe Gates will pretend to be a marine biologist, or admit his secret passion for wanting to lie about being an architect.

Maybe, just maybe, Gates will finally admit that Netscape was a hell of a browser. Who knows, because when Gates and Seinfeld are together even that seems possible.

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