If you have to release a statement explaining your commercial, I think it's safe to say it was a failure. The much anticipated Microsoft commercial featuring comedian Jerry Seinfeld debuted yesterday, and quickly rose in the viewer ranks on YouTube. Not only was the 90-second spot not funny, it left so many people asking what it was about that it prompted Microsoft to post a release that read, in part:
After seeing the new ad from Microsoft, which debuted today, some may wonder what Jerry Seinfeld helping Bill Gates pick out a new pair of shoes has to do with software. The answer, in the classic Seinfeld sense of the word, is nothing. Nevertheless, the spot is the first and most visible sign of an ambitious effort by Microsoft's Windows business to reconnect with consumers around the globe.
Maybe Crispin Porter + Bogusky, the agency that created the ads, thought that the irony of Bill Gates being spotted by Seinfeld shopping for discount shoes was enough to carry it. And maybe they also liked the last few Star Wars movies because of their special effects.
The general consensus of people I've spoken with and whose comments I've read was that the commercial was a disappointment. From the very start-- with Seinfeld reading the shoe store outside--it was trite. And if it was supposed to be an ad for Vista, it totally missed the mark. The best moment came at the end, with Jerry's enthusiastic "I knew it...!" However, the message I got was that there's something else coming from Microsoft; something other than what's already out there. And certainly something other than Vista.
The series of ads, of which yesterday's was the first, is "designed to spark a conversation about the Windows brand," the statement continued. Since you are reading this, that part of the plan has apparently worked. But it remains to be seen whether subsequent ads will create "a conversation that will evolve as the campaign progresses, but will always be marked by humor and humanity." For the campaign's US$300 million price tag, I would certainly hope so.