October 5, 2022

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Dear Bill Gates: I Don’t Get It

Dear Bill Gates: I Don’t Get It

I don’t blame Bill Gates for wanting to get into the quirky commercial game. I mean, how long can the poor man go on being roundly lampooned in those brilliant, if ubiquitous and annoying and well past their prime, “Mac vs PC” ads? The Apple brand has positioned itself so clearly in those spots. They are young, hip, cool, and smug. Microsoft is paunchy, balding, middle-aged and completely unaware of its own shortcomings. I get it. I get what they are trying to do.

Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld doing various shenanigans? I’m not sure I get it.

Bill comes across as a good sport, and somewhat charming and lovable in the spots, particularly the one where Bill and Jerry shop for discount shoes (The Conquistador!), but what do they say about the Microsoft brand? I don’t think I should have to think about it. With the Mac ads the intention is clean, simple, and obvious. With Microsoft it’s just like “Okay, Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld are engaging in shenanigans. What’s the point?

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  1. wojcicki@veritascanada.com'

    … but what does it say about the Mac brand that the guy they have portraying the Mac was using non-Mac products to ‘save the world’ in the last ‘Die Hard’ movie? Not to mention that his character in that movie was decidedly un-cool and un-hip.
    I’m not disagreeing with you… but I really don’t see Bill and Jerry’s excellent adventure to be that much different from a brand position perspective than the PC vs Mac efforts. I personally never found the Mac character to be even a bit believable or trustworthy. So what does that say about brand?

  2. doughaslam@gmail.com'
    Doug Haslam

    Seinfeld is definitely a “huh?” out of the box, but I suspect it’s a long-term campaign that might make more sense down the road (maybe).
    I would have loved to see MSFT buy out John Hodgman and Justin Long and continue the “Mac-PC” ads, but noew favoring MSFT. That would be a hoot.

  3. tvanhoosear@topazpartners.com'
    Todd Van Hoosear

    While I like the ads, I think you’re right to question the message that they’re sending.
    The Mac ads are clear: macs are better.
    The PC ads are more fuzzier. What do they say?
    * Microsoft is a big picture, visionary kind of company that’s going to come out with some big ideas — this stretches credulity just a bit, Mac and Google are the innovators, Microsoft has always been the conglomerator
    * Yes, Bill Gates retired, but he’s still alive and kicking and thinking big — and if this is true, doesn’t Apple need to send that message more than Microsoft, what with all the worries around Jobs’ health?

  4. swurrey@customscoop.com'
    Sarah Wurrey

    Interesting news: Microsoft is ditching Seinfeld for its future ads. They must not be getting good responses…Apparently their next ads are going to feature other celebs, and a John Hodgman “lookalike” complaining about the PC stereotypes. Interesting…

  5. doughaslam@gmail.com'
    Doug Haslam

    Aha! I was almost kinda sorta right (in saying they could co-opt the Mac campaign). If you hold your head sideways and squint, anyway.
    Still would be better if they actiually hired away Hodgman

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