The Gates/Seinfeld Mystery Explained–Sort of

By  |  Friday, March 26, 2010 at 8:01 am

Remember the Microsoft ads from 2008 which starred Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld? They attracted lots of bemused attention at the time, since they were full of absurdist humor and had so very little to do with Microsoft products. Now TechFlash’s Todd Bishop has unexpectedly revived the discussion by asking Microsoft honcho David Webster to explain what was going on. Webster basically says that the company was planning a lot of new advertising but was worried that nobody would pay attention, so it decided to kick things off with some ads that were impossible to ignore. And he says that the rumors that the campaign was cut short were false.

Here are the ads:

(That’s two ads, but Webster says there were three–I think the second one was released both as a two-parter and as one long bit, and he’s therefore counting it twice. Conspiracy theorists, feel free to insist that there’s a secret unreleased third spot…)



6 Comments For This Post

  1. heulenwolf Says:

    1) “it decided to kick things off with some ads that were impossible to ignore.”
    2) “the rumors that the campaign was cut short were false.”

    Those two statements seem to disagree. What were the additional ads that were part of this campaign?

  2. ediedi Says:

    MS execs seem to write the book on corporatist ‘langue de bois’. Also, their ad ‘campaign was really a mess of totally different styles of communicaton and target audiences. To pretend it was premeditated is sad.
    PS. i’ve always wondered why monopolistic companies advertise

  3. ReynaldoRiv Says:

    The only thing I got from these ads was that something might have been coming, but that was just from Seinfeld directly asking Bill and Bill responding. Of course it was Windows 7/Phone7 but really, they should have been a bit more obvious. I could only tell in hindsight they were hinting at bigger things; seeing the commercials when they aired was like watching a mystery no one wanted to solve.

  4. jltnol Says:

    sounds like revisionist history…

  5. Hamranhansenhansen Says:

    These ads were some of the worst ever made. There is just nothing redeeming about them. They devalued both the Microsoft and Seinfeld brands considerably.

  6. Tom Ross Says:

    I find them really funny, but they should have seen a limited TV run only. They were of course a prelude to the “I’m a PC” and the “Laptop shopper” campaigns Microsoft did in the following months. I wonder why nobody remembers those anymore, those were pure flamebait.