The Secret Meaning Behind Seinfeld/Gates Ad

I just watched the new Microsoft Seinfeld ad. I'm stunned that it wasn't a "blown away" kind of ad. So I have to ask myself, what's going on... what are they doing with these ads? The commercial basically is this; Seinfeld see Gates at a shoe store, goes in, tries to figure out what shoe size Gates wears, advises him to shower with his shoes on, offers him a sugary churro treat, tells him Microsoft should come out with something that makes his computer soft and chewy like cake, and Gates gives Seinfeld a signal that something like that's coming. Commercial's over. Done.

So what's all the sugary churro, soft and chewy cake stuff about? Or is this commercial some kind of Gates-Da Vinci Code about Windows 7? Obviously this is the first in a series of commercials, likely to tout Windows flexibility over Macs, and possibly leading up to a Windows 7 introduction. At least that's my guess, as I can't really tell yet. But if I were Microsoft, here's the story I'd tell.

First, Microsoft technology empowers many aspects of our daily lives, including our information sharing, web surfing, interpersonal messaging through IM and email, entertainment, gaming, cell phones, collaboration, and running our businesses. No, it's not the only technology out there but Microsoft is very present in our everyday lives.

Next, I'd focus on the choice Microsoft offers. That might sound strange to say about a proprietary software company, but if Microsoft's going after the I'm a Mac commercials this is a great way to attack Apple's we know better approach to products. Choose your hardware configuration (or build your own box), choose your software from a wide variety of partners, choose your online services, etc. Microsoft can't tout the flexibility of an open source story but they also don't take Apple's close minded we'll choose the features you need approach either. 

Next, reach out and touch someone. Microsoft is opening customer pavilions in Circuit City stores, much like Apple has done at Best Buy. Microsoft needs to press the flesh with customers more often. Help someone choose the best games, the right hardware options, tell them about online services, instead of sitting back and expecting their partners to pull customers in and sell their products.

Lastly, a little mystery and suspense wouldn't be a bad thing. Hey, if we can have a 60 year old Harrison Ford bring out a classic style Indiana Jones 4 movie, we might enjoy a little well played suspense about what Microsoft is up to. Maybe that's what Seinfeld and Gates were doing in their commercial. Bill thinking his foot needed size 11 shoes and Jerry fitting him for size 10s? That means Windows is over bloated and needs to loose the kitchen sink attitude so Windows 7 looses some weight. Jerry recommend Gates take a shower with his shoes (and clothes) on? Make Windows boot and wake up faster so we're productive quicker, or that could have been a dig at Gate's legendary body odor problem. Sugary churro plus soft, chewy cake references? Maybe that's the sweetness of all the choices Microsoft offers over Apple. (I'm not so sure about that one.) And that signal when Gates adjusts his shorts at the end of the commercial? Could be Windows 7 will have some cool stuff we haven't been told about.

Now I'm not saying this because I'm some gushy Microsoft fan boy, hoping Microsoft will somehow become cool like Apple. It's just my initial take on the first Seinfeld commercial for Microsoft, and what Microsoft could do to combat Apple's sometimes accurate, often arrogant commercials. Believe me, I don't possess secrets about making Microsoft cool. Though the first Seinfeld commercial isn't one that blew me away, it's enough to watch for the next one to see where this is all going and if my Spidey senses about it are working or not.

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