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  (Source: Robert Scoble)

"Hello! I'm a PC and I've been made into a stereotype!" exclaims a John Hodgman look alike in Microsoft's new spots.  (Source: Microsoft)

MMA tough guy Rashad Evans is among the celebs as well as normal people to declare their love for the PC. Says Evans, "I'm a PC! YOU got a problem with that?!?" It seems pretty unlikely that Justin Long would manage more than a nervous squeak.   (Source: Microsoft)
"I'm a PC! YOU got a problem with that?!?"

Anticipation was high for the Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld ads when they debuted earlier this month.  After all, they paired one of comedy's greats with a father figure of the tech industry -- that should surely be enough to take on feisty Apple computers, right?  Not, so it turns out. 

First the initial ad was blasted across the internet as being nonsensical, unfunny, and generally pointless.  Said ZDNet, "Maybe I’m off base here but I think if Microsoft is trying to engage people with this ad, it has failed miserably."

Gizmodo piped in, "There's not really a whole lot of anything, including laughs, information or pimping of Vista. It's kinda like Seinfeld's really long, really rambling Superman ad for Amex he did a few years back."

The LA Times said the first ad had disturbing racial overtones and generally was in bad taste.  Their blogger remarked, "It pulls none of the emotional strings that might have helped Microsoft "reconnect" with its audience (not that I remember ever being connected to them)."

Criticism for the clips taken from the second full length ad was less vitriolic, but it was not glowing either.  The 4-5 minutes spot about Bill Gates and Seinfeld moving in with a suburban family had its funny points, but again struggled to make a clear connection to a product.

A couple days ago a frenzy of reports began circulating around the internet stating that the seemingly inevitable was about to happen -- Microsoft was pulling the plug on the Gates and Seinfeld spots.  While the gist of this statement may be true, the official word is that the ads are not canceled but merely on "hiatus" and may appear back again at any time.

The true story first began to surface when a Crispin Porter + Bogusky, the ad firm in charge of the campaign and also responsible for the latest Burger King commercials, contradicted the reports according to Gizmodo.

While the old ads may not be gone for good, Microsoft has moved on to "Phase 2", with brand new spots.  The first of these entitled "I'm a PC" aired last night on NBC's popular comedy The Office.  The ads open with a John Hodgeman lookalike saying that PC users have fallen victim to stereotyping.  It then shows off Windows users ranging from geek, like Gates and Deepak Chopra, to glamorous like Eva Longoria and Tony Parker.  Seinfeld was conspicuously absent in the new commercials.

The new ads received a much warmer reception.  As Gizmodo puts it the ads "definitely beat the crap out of those (ill-fated?) Gates/Seinfeld ads when it comes to making a point."

Another funny part comes in the second version of the spot, where, at the end, top MMA fighter Rashad Evans spits out, "I'm a PC.  You got a problem with that."

No one answers, but it seems likely that Justin Long would suddenly have not much to say if he were around.  Indeed, the line delivers the sentiment many frustrated PC owners had been feeling themselves for a long time, but were perhaps not intimidating enough to say.

Perhaps the strongest aspects of these new ads are the parts where they show a variety of everyday people stating the perhaps soon-to-become-iconic line "I'm a PC".  They also seamlessly tie together these with comments on the people’s occupations -- such as an environmental activist, a McCain campaign staffer, an Obama blogger, and even an astronaut.  And there's a bit of randomness too, with comments on the people's facial features like beards and glasses, without losing the point or sounding too inane.  It all ties together into a sort of spot that’s significantly more endearing and even a bit funny.

While Gates and Seinfeld may not be done with their strange antics, the new lifeblood of the Windows campaign seems to have been pumped.  Microsoft finally realized that it should give the people what they've been asking for all along -- a direct and witty response to the snarky "Get a Mac" commercials.

One of the new spot can be found here.  Another can be found here.

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Sinfield ads were not cancled
By mikefarinha on 9/19/2008 11:43:51 AM , Rating: 5
Just because a bunch of loony blogers are proclaiming, in a circle-jerk fassion, that the Jerry ads were awful doesn't make it so. If anyone wants to actually read a real news article about it, or read from the horses mouth at you'll realize that the Sinfield ads were meant to simply kick-start the conversation by getting people talking about them. Also, early reports show that the Jerry/Bill ads were very very successful.

From all reliable indications this is going to be a prolonged ad campaign and we are just now seeing the first signs of meat.

Anyways. When I first heard about the ad campaign I thought it would be foolish for Microsoft to engage Apple, least it give credence to the silly Apple ads. However what they have done with these "I'm a PC" ad is pure genius. It is a devistating form of marketing Judo against Apple. Apple spent a lot of time and money getting everyone familiar with "I'm a PC" and "I'm a Mac" where the Mac would, very suavely, belittle and humilliate the PC. Now Microsoft is taking the the idea of "I'm a PC" and wraping themselves up in it, without mentioning the Mac, very smart.

Also, part of this campaign is to encourage people to make videos of why they're "A PC."

So my biggest question is will Apple continue with the "I'm a Mac & I'm a PC" ads? It seems to me that if they continue to run those ads they will now be insulting the people they want to win over, since now Microsoft is encouraging people to be a PC.

I've been saying since Vista was released that Microsoft needs more marketing. I'm glad they finally realized that because I'm tired of listening to know-nothing idiots tell me how crappy my OS is.

RE: Sinfield ads were not cancled
By tayhimself on 9/19/08, Rating: -1
RE: Sinfield ads were not cancled
By mikefarinha on 9/19/2008 12:32:13 PM , Rating: 3
Wow, what a scathing critique of my comment!

Here is a quote from the Seattle Times if this makes you happier:
While many online pundits speculated that the Seinfeld ads were pulled early, this is what Microsoft and its edgy Miami ad agency, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, had in mind from the beginning. It's a departure from the normal model of running a campaign, but Sharpe said if any agency can pull it off, Crispin can.

"It's Crispin and it's unprecedented and that's what they do," Sharpe said.

Veghte said he was pleased with the initial response to the Seinfeld ads, which generated more than half a billion impressions on television and the Web, exceeding the company's goal.

RE: Sinfield ads were not cancled
By tayhimself on 9/19/08, Rating: -1
By foolsgambit11 on 9/20/2008 1:28:39 PM , Rating: 2
I want to write a rap song with the line, "It's Crispin and it's unprecedented" in it.

RE: Sinfield ads were not cancled
By MonkeyPaw on 9/19/2008 12:53:21 PM , Rating: 3
I agree. As it is already, the PC character in Apple's ads is more interesting and likable than the smug, dressed-like-a-bum Mac dude. What's really interesting is that Apple dresses PC in a drab, beige suit, even though the beige box PC died quite some time ago. PC's come in more shapes, sizes and colors than Macs.

RE: Sinfield ads were not cancled
By cochy on 9/19/2008 2:25:03 PM , Rating: 2
they will now be insulting the people they want to win over, since now Microsoft is encouraging people to be a PC.

Excellent point. These commercials are extremely smart. Quite a marketing coup if they keep it up.

"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il

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