Michel Gondry, the innovative director of films, music videos and numerous TV commercials, is directing at least one of the TV spots starring Jerry Seinfeld touting Microsoft Corp.'s Windows operating system, according to numerous reports.
The ad agency Crispin Porter & Bogusky ... is overseeing the $300 million Windows advertising campaign starring Seinfeld. A Microsoft spokeswoman said, "Stay tuned, literally," but otherwise declined to comment ... the Seinfeld commercial, for which the comedian will be paid about $10 million, will debut on Sept. 4.
Microsoft wants to boost the flagging public perception of Vista, which has been hurt by Apple Inc.'s "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" TV ads ... The 54-year-old Seinfeld, however, may not be the ideal pitchman to win back younger consumers.
Here are ten reasons why this doesn't work for me.
There are eight seasons of Seinfeld out there with a Macintosh sitting on the corner of his desk ... $10 million dollars and most people would endorse anything ... Jerry Seinfeld is a writer. Writers use Macs ... He's also a television personality, he has to be seen with the latest and greatest hardware ... His HP ads, though cool and somewhat entertaining, weren't particularly effective ... He's already been in an Apple ad ... Seinfeld and Bill Gates? One of the funniest men in the world with one of the least funny ... Just look at this Mac Addict ad from 1996. Enough said ... I like Seinfeld. It will be painful to watch him trying to sell an inferior product ... He's the Mac Guy! George is the PC guy! Kramer runs Linux.
The Global Nerdy blog has done some extensive YouTube research and dug up a treasure trove of TV tech commercials featuring tech celebrity endorsers, similar to the one Jerry Seinfeld will be playing in all of those imminent Windows ads.
They include: Captain Kirk pushing the Commodore Vic-20; Bill Cosby endorsing the Texas Instruments TI 99/4; Friends' actors Matthew Perry and Jennifer Aniston hawking Windows 95; Singer Gwen Stefani using the word "mashup" while talking up HP PCs; At least a dozen Compaq ads with John Cleese making Monty Python-esque joke; The other captain of the Starship Enterprise, Patrick Stewart, along with Nicole Kidman, Liv Tyler and others pretending to play a Nintendo DS.
Hey kids, remember the late 1990s? Bill Clinton was President. The economy was humming along. Gas prices were low. Seinfeld was the number one TV show. And Microsoft ruled the tech world. You might not have liked it, but it was true.
While I understand that things arent going quite as swimmingly for Microsoft in 2008 as they were in 1998, I dont think this will help.
Look, regardless of what he is pitching, Jerry Seinfeld is a victim of the time and place he helped define. Seinfeld the TV show which BTW, I still I think is terrifically funny is probably on somewhere right now. And in fact, it will always be on, and when you see it, youll always think 1990s ... who wants to be reminded of a time before the iPhone or TiVo or network music players? ... Before in-dash GPS or YouTube or Roomba or Facebook?
Well, Richard Stallman's been re-running the same damn hippie crap on his channel for at least that long. And over at Apple? Steve Jobs has been wearing that same black turtleneck since 1986. And how about that Penguin? Man, that is fresh!
Actually, I imagine that Seinfeld's "establishment" personality is probably going to work very well in this case. It has the potential to be brilliant, with lots of good humorous irony potential. His AmEx spots have generally been pretty good.
I want to make a "Master of his domain" joke, somehow... or perhaps "What's the deal with blue screens?"