Bill Gates/Jerry Seinfeld Commercial #2: I Remain Confused

I’m starting to feel bad for Microsoft PR, who’ve been tasked with defending these Microsoft ads featuring Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld. I just didn’t connect with the first ad, which barely mentioned Microsoft and didn’t do much to tell me why I should like their products in a competitive market. The second ad, which aired tonight, was more of the same.

The setting is a normal family. Gates and Seinfeld are staying with them to connect with “real people.” The idea is to show that Microsoft has connected with “over a billion people.” Bill and Jerry explain:

Bill: Why are we doing this again?

Jerry: Why Bill? Because as we discussed, you and i are a little out of it. You’re living in some kinda moon house hovering over Seattle like the mothership. I’ve got so many cars I get stuck in my own traffic. We need to connect with real people.

I guess this is still a warm up act to the real thing, which will presumably get into more details on what Microsoft does and will do to connect people.

But here’s my problem. The idea of the campaign seems to be to show people how great Microsoft products are. The “real people” as they keep calling them are being reached out to so they can understand and grow to love these products.

But…If Bill (and therefore Microsoft) is not already in touch with real people, then their products may not be, either. By spending time with real people, the logic flow suggests they’ll be able to build better products.

In other words, Microsoft is highlighting the fact that they are out of touch. But instead of saying they’ll mingle with real people to build better products, the message seems to be that the real people need to get with the program.

In other words, I’m confused. Perhaps I’m just over thinking the whole thing, but it seems like exactly the opposite message that Microsoft needs to be sending.

The long uncut version: