I’m not quite sure what this was important to someone, but Todd Bishop of TechFlash sat down with Microsoft to discuss those crazy Seinfeld ads from way back in ought-8. He essentially asked Microsoft “What were you thinking?” and got some interesting replies.
Essentially, Microsoft wanted to introduce Windows 7 in a big way but they weren’t sure how to go about it. Their marketing execs wanted an icebreaker to invite the world back into the mind of Microsoft. The result? Some of the craziest commercials the company ever released.
But the truth is, we actually hadn’t been doing that for a while. So we were a little worried about just having a cold start into that process, just jumping in with some Windows ads around features, and speeds and feeds. We thought we needed an icebreaker.
Because at that moment, our biggest fear — and this is the part that I would say you would be right to say was laughable — would be that we would run ads and nobody would notice. That somehow, we would have a party and nobody would come. Now, knowing the level of scrutiny that every slight twitch that we have gets at this point, that was an incorrect assumption, certainly on my part, that anybody would fail to notice that we had started running a new ad campaign. So the idea that we came up with was, what if we sort of eased into this, not with a hard sales pitch on one of our products, but with something that said, hey, I’m getting back in touch with consumers, I’m going on this journey as a company to get back into having a consumer conversation with people. Let’s try to find an icebreaker.
Ultimately, these commercials were the precursor to the humanizing “I’m a PC” and “Laptop Hunter” ads that came later. So think of Jerry and Bill as sort of a nice sherbet before the real meat.