Yesterday the news was all over the web: Jerry Seinfeld has been chosen as spokesman for a new Microsoft ad campaign pushing Vista. This fact strikes me as hilarious in every way except the way Microsoft probably intended.
For starters, the upcoming Seinfeld ads are clearly a response to Apple’s much-parodied, much-discussed Get a Mac campaign. For the “funny” in their campaign, Apple chose the fresh, up-and-coming humorist John Hodgman. (Remember, the Get a Mac campaign launched in May of 2006. Hodgman wasn’t unknown then, but he certainly wasn’t as widely known as he is now. Fans of The Daily Show knew him, but not many others did.) In response to this, Microsoft chooses a comedian whose hit sitcom ended in 1998. Sure, people like Seinfeld, but, 1998? For a technology company? This is the image Microsoft is going for? “Welcome back to the 90s! We miss the 90s because we didn’t seem to suck as much then!”
You’ve probably seen Seinfeld (if you’re at least 10 years old or watch reruns, that is). Do you recall what kind of computer Jerry had on his desk in his apartment all those years ago? That’s right: a Mac. He’s a known Mac user. Apple even aired a special version of its Think Different ad during the series finale of Seinfeld which showed a black-and-white clip of Jerry Seinfeld himself as the last in the series of people being honored by Apple in the ad. According to the New York Times, Jerry’s being paid $10 million to be in these ads. I guess the next message Microsoft wants to send besides “Welcome back to the 90s!” is “We can buy and sell you, no matter what your personal preferences used to be.” Apparently Microsoft thinks the only thing we all love more than a 90s sitcom star is one who is also a sellout.
Who knows, maybe the ads will really wow us all. Just like Vista.