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Microsoft chairman Bill Gates and comedian Jerry Seinfeld kicked off a $300 million ad campaign to rejuvenate the Windows brand, in part because of the “tepid” reception of Vista. However the commercial has been labelled bizarre and “Stupid”.

Despite selling more than 180 million licenses since its launch in 2007, Windows Vista continues to suffer from the perception that the operating system is clunky and hard to use compared with Apple computers.

Initial screenings have the US advertising industry – and most viewers, scratching their heads. The first ad showed comedian Jerry Seinfeld , reportedly paid US$10 million, and company founder Bill Gates in a quirky attempt to buy shoes at a discount store. The ad saw Seinfeld advising the world’s richest man on how to stretch cheap new shoes that are too small.

Reactions to the ad were mostly negative, focusing on the failure to promote Vista. Microsoft said the debate over the ad signalled its success. Ahem! The Gates-Seinfeld repartee is only a part of a much broader marketing push, MS execs said. It will include staffing sections of retail stores dedicated to Windows “to improve the customer experience of buying new PCs”.

The plan aims to counter Apple’s relentless “Mac vs. PC” ads, which featur a young, hip character representing Apple machines and a clueless oaf who stands in for Windows PCs. The Microsoft ad concludes with Seinfeld asking Gates if a day will come when computers will be “moist and chewy like cake so we can just eat them
while we’re working”.

If it’s true, he asks Gates to adjust his shorts. Which he does. The two then stroll off as the Microsoft logo appears on the screen. The point? It remains obscure.

 

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