Breaking Microsoft Advertising News: $10M Down the Toilet


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And we quote from Valleywag:

Remember those awful Microsoft ads with Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates? Well, now you can forget them. Microsoft flacks are desperately dialing reporters to spin them about “phase two” of the ad campaign — a phase, due to be announced tomorrow, which will drop the aging comic altogether. Microsoft’s version of the story: Redmond had always planned to drop Seinfeld. The awkward reality: The ads only reminded us how out of touch with consumers Microsoft is — and that Bill Gates’s company has millions of dollars to waste on hiring a has-been funnyman to keep him company.

Update: In a phone call, Waggener Edstrom flack Frank Shaw confirms that Microsoft is not going on with Seinfeld, and echoes his underlings’ spin that the move was planned. There is the “potential to do other things” with Seinfeld, which Shaw says is still “possible.” He adds: “People would have been happier if everyone loved the ads, but this was not unexpected.”

Woah! The power the media has to influence a campaign today is unreal. A bit rash to kill Seinfeld off so quickly though, don’t you think? And to flush $10M on him down the crapper? More to come on this Thursday.

(Thanks for the link, John)


  1. Chris September 17, 2008

    this is irresponsible

    this is irresponsible reporting. its merely the launching of the next phase of the campaign.

  2. Paul Suggett

    Paul Suggett September 18, 2008

    Why would they kill off the

    Why would they kill off the ads before the campaign has even gained traction? Who would even plan that? And why pay Seinfeld $10 million for a few teaser spots that lead nowhere? CP&B must have some genius strategy guru taking messages from the dead advertising gods or something, because it all sounds like a bunch of hokum to me.

  3. Jason Bean September 18, 2008

    I can believe the statement

    I can believe the statement of it not being unexpected, but I doubt they intended to pay Seinfeld for two spots at $5M each.

  4. The Artistic Mercenary™ September 18, 2008

    You’re mistaken. The media

    You’re mistaken. The media doesn’t have the power to influence campaigns like this. How do I know? Because I’ve been watching the same companies churn out shit advertising for years and they haven’t changed.

    How about we wait and see what phase 2 of this campaign is before we pass judgment.

    Seinfeld wasn’t the reason these ads didn’t work, a shite concept was the culprit.

  5. Chris Maley September 18, 2008

    You never know. Msft.

    You never know. Msft. could’ve chickened out at the press, but everyone is talking about it. Lots of buzz for a phase two. Whatever that next effort is, everyone will pay attention to every second of it.

  6. The Dude September 18, 2008

    I don’t know…maybe i have a

    I don’t know…maybe i have a very awkward sense of humor – but the spots didn’t bother me.

    I listened to people, including myself say “what the F* was that.” But you know what people are talking – and for once they aren’t talking about how bad Vista sucks.

    Maybe it’s better that people bitch about the campaign rather the software – I don’t know (maybe I should just stick with the internet).

    That being said i’m a firm believer in nothing happens on accident whether it be politics or good advertising.

  7. Trevor Smith September 18, 2008

    I was digging the ads and

    I was digging the ads and looking forward to the next ones.

    It seems that the early negative majority opinion was more than the MSFT people could take. There is clearly a lot of spin going on now.

    I imagine CP&B pleaded with them to stick with the creative vision.

    It was a different type of branding campaign – maybe ahead of its time.

  8. foobear September 18, 2008

    maybe bill just didn’t feel

    maybe bill just didn’t feel like spending his days doing shoots.

  9. Scott Fassett September 18, 2008

    Just read this this morning,

    Just read this this morning, apparantly Crispin said it’s not true:

  10. Commander Zoloft September 18, 2008

    C’mon, these ads were only

    C’mon, these ads were only appetizers. They were never meant to run more than a couple of weeks. So the fact that they are being phased out does not necessarily mean they were a flop.

    Personally, I didn’t care for them. Not because they weren’t informative, but because they weren’t entertaining. Couldn’t they have gotten someone a little more cutting-edge and current — and a whole cheaper — than Jerry Seinfeld? Seinfeld is about as hip — and, in these commercials, as funny — as Joey Bishop.

    And The Dude, you’ve got it wrong. Yes, the teasers got people talking — but many of them WERE “talking about how bad Vista sucks.” Just check out some of the articles and comments posted online. Whether people liked the commercials or not, whenever the discussion drifted to Microsoft itself, people would complain about Vista.

    While I use a Mac, I’m neutral in the PC/Mac wars. And although I’ve certainly been aware of Microsoft’s quality issues, I had no idea just how bad Vista was. And I never would’ve known had I not read the comments generated by the teaser campaign.

    Way to go, Crispin. At least your new VW commercial with Brooke Shields is pretty good.

  11. Zach O. September 18, 2008

    Article on all this was

    Article on all this was posted today on Adweek.

  12. Stuart Confer

    Stuart Confer September 18, 2008

    I believe the Seinfeld spots

    I believe the Seinfeld spots created a lot of attention, and it is part of a bigger idea that we will see soon. Thoughts?

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