Microsoft’s Seinfeld Commercial WAS GOOD.

7 Sep

I’ve read a few reactions to Microsoft’s commercial featuring Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates in the “Shoe Circus” shop. So far, I’ve come across one opinion that wasn’t negative, so I figured I’ll be the second positive opinion. We like change, right?

Firstly, let’s quickly go over the Windows versus Mac debacle.

It’s a debacle. The end.

Let’s acknowledge Mac’s current advertising campaign, “Mac vs. PC” It’s funny, the characters are engaging, and it purposely compares Macs to Windows. I like it; it gets the audience to believe what’s being said. (But, when I say “compares,” I really mean “perpetuates a stereotype.”)

My background? I’ve used Macs and PCs for all sorts of programs, especially for design and video editing. I have no bias towards using one OS over the other. I really like certain features in one, and I really like certain features in the other. Over the years, I’ve used more than a handful of each one’s operating systems and they have all had problems for me, but they have all done their job too. PCs have crashed and I have friends (and computer labs) with Macs that have crashed. Did I just put that out in the open? Yes, MACS CAN CRASH.

My husband is a programmer, and he could launch into a long debate on how PCs and Macs are no better than each other and why he prefers one over the other. But, this isn’t his blog so you’ll have to ask him yourself.

The idea that’s floating around is Macs are better than PCs. Frankly, I don’t know why this is considered true. I can acknowledge that if you aren’t that proficient on a PC (or are inherently slow at learning technologies), a Mac can be easier to learn. But, if you’ve used PCs for a while, Macs are no easier and PCs are no more difficult. If this were Utopia, we would need only one OS because it would be perfect in every way. Hello, Real World, and welcome to healthy competition for the consumer.

So, Microsoft. Well, here we go.

My first reaction to the ad: “that wasn’t as funny as the Mac commercials.” Which is true, but so what? It was amusing, in that Seinfeld-Show-About-Nothing sort of way. Gee, I wonder why? And it was refreshing to see Bill Gates be silly (and he is one of the most transparent charitable businessmen around).

Let’s set this straight: the one commercial did not cost $300 million. I’ve read “articles” that actually say, “that’s what $300 million gets you?” No. The one commercial is the beginning of a $300 million campaign. If you’re going to perpetuate the idea that this commercial makes no sense, wasn’t worth the money, or even sucked, then at least get the facts right.

I’ve read someone state, “it’s one of the worst, most pointless ads in history… It has nothing to do with Windows, or even with computers… If there’s been a worse technology ad, I haven’t seen it.”

Oh, shut up. Do you understand advertising at all?

Sorry. I lost my debater’s cool for a moment.

The commercial made sense. YES, it did. I’m unsure what the general audience was expecting, but Microsoft isn’t going to “copy” Mac commercials, this wasn’t in response to the Mac vs. PC ads, and Microsoft wouldn’t launch straight into BUY THIS – USE THIS – BETTER US – YOU LIKE? advertising. Suffice it to say, people have a bad taste of Microsoft in their mouth. Why? Because most people are lemmings.

How should Microsoft get you to listen to their message? They have to remind you of their story. You have to watch without automatically thinking of their competition. They have to silence the messages in your brain that tell you Microsoft = Evil.

After all that, let’s see another OS comparison test. You know what would be nice? If the dissenters on both sides would stay out of the subjects’ heads. And that’s impossible, so this is what has to be done: you have to acknowledge that the media is not the truth. It is not honesty. Whether it be pro or con, you have to figure out the facts for yourself. Don’t bother to believe what I’m saying without doing your own research; rely on opinions that have tested both sides.

I can feel hardcore Mac fanatics leering at my words, but the usual arguments don’t cut it with me. You cannot tell me Windows isn’t up to par with Mac because I’ve used both. Microsoft using Apple ideas is not a bad thing (Genius versus Guru?), or as Mac fanatics like to put it: Microsoft copying Apple is not a bad thing. Do not trust the media as their attack launches against Microsoft time and time again. Go and look at the systems yourself. See which better fits your budget and tasks. Assume that both of them will crash. (Even assume that there are more Mac support locations than just Genius Bars.)

Basically, don’t get brainwashed by either side (watch Steve Jobs and Bill Gates on the same stage at D5 2007).

I hope Microsoft continues to be above the idea that you have to purposely attack the competition in a wide venue. I hope the subsequent commercials get the lemmings to finally realize what Microsoft is trying to accomplish, and that they’re trying to do so in a dignifying manner.

So, final verdict: the commercial was amusing, it introduced Microsoft as a simple and human entity with news that you should pay attention to, not just brush aside because of what you’ve “heard.” If you continue to blindly brush aside, then you really haven’t formed an educated and logical opinion at all.

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