Microsoft’s New Commercials & Rumors (Commercials 2, 3, and 4)

Picture of the fake Hodgman from Microsoft's new commercial(s) - Courtesy of Wired.com

Picture of the fake Hodgman - Wired.com

Unless you abstain from all mainstream TV and social networking online, you’ve undoubtedly seen the latest Microsoft commercials and heard the buzz that they created. I wrote a little entry about the 1st Seinfeld/Gates commercial, sharing a bit of my disgust/confusion with Microsoft’s reasoning. While my opinion hasn’t completely changed, I must say that I’ve been fascinated by what I’ll call the “evolution” of viewer opinions.

Initially, the general consensus didn’t vary much from my expressed opinion. With all the build-up, I must say the commercials didn’t live up to the hype. People expected a lot more from the Seinfeld/Gates duo. Heck, the commercial didn’t contain a computer, hardly mentioned one, and more or less made me uncomfortable (I don’t want to see Gates ever shift/adjust his pants again anywhere, let alone on mainstream TV).

Next came Gate’s & Seinfield’s strange assimilation into a “normal” American family. This one showed a bit more promise but still left most of us disappointed. Nothing was really that funny save the old grandma… maybe. Again, Gates and Seinfeld leave us with a strange exit. Seinfeld’s questions regarding “What’s Next” leave something to be desired. Also, Gates shows a side of him that we probably aren’t terribly interested in seeing ever again. The robot? Really?

This commercial, however, stirred up a bit more conversation. One of the more interesting articles/posts I read regarding Microsoft’s interesting pick in commercial strategy came from the Red Sweater Blog. This article focused more on the positives and was honestly pretty insightful, I thought. It discussed how Microsoft was focused on making their image seem more friendly… opposed to a “frumpy guy that likes spreadsheets” to quote from one of the witty comments. To quote directly from the article:

Imagine yourself in Microsoft’s position. you’ve got some 90% of the market share for computer operating systems, and you’re facing increasingly negative reports about the public’s impression of your place in the world. You’re a cold, hard company. You’re not very much fun. You don’t care about innovation. You’re a sleeper in a dancer’s universe. You’ve got no soul. You’re a plain old, boring, damn it all ridiculous stick in the mud. Microsoft, you suck.

Makes sense, doesn’t it? Is it actually succeeding? Who really knows. I tend to think it’s not. At least not as much as it should be for the money they’re paying Jerry… which leads to the next interesting move from Microsoft.

Before too long, rumors started flying around about Jerry Seinfeld getting the boot from Microsoft. They supposedly decided their commercial strategy was not paying off the way they had planned. Twitter was all abuzz with this news. Pretty soon it was confirmed, and Jerry was out. Immediately after typing that previous text, I received a Google Reader update from Mashable informing me that this was not the case. Apparently this was never in Microsoft’s plan. And some question the power of Web 2.0 and social networking. I love Google Reader by the way… Best RSS reader IMHO.

Enter commercial #3 and the Hodgman PC look-alike from Apple’s brilliant Mac vs PC commercials. Aside from the intro with the look-alike, I must admit I like Microsoft’s new commercial. I love the diversity of people and the way Microsoft seemed to capture a glimpse of different people’s personalities. I agree with most of what Gizmodo had to say about it. Kind of a funny ending with the fishing line, but hey, it’s better than the nauseating pant’s adjustment and terrible robot dance.

Commercial #4 was released/leaked the same time as #3. Kind of clever. I think I smiled while watching it…

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