Most pundits seem to dislike Crispin Porter + Bogusky’s first Microsoft commercial with Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates. But to debate its specific merit or lack thereof misses the point. To crib a theme from blogger and Adweek columnist Joe Jaffe, the brand has opened a conversation with consumers. The campaign has been as widely anticipated as Super Bowl advertising. And the spot itself shows that a give and take is possible. It’s goofy and non-threatening and makes Gates’s software behemoth appear approachable, even likeable. That alone is a big victory. Consider: Would Steve Jobs ever adjust his underwear in a commercial? Would he have paid staffers to do it for him? Just yesterday, that was the kind of quip I’d level at Gates. Today, however, Apple and its beloved (but suddenly a bit antiseptic-looking) series with Mac and PC seem aloof and even smug compared to Bill and Jerry kibitzing at the mall. Maybe Jobs should get on his iPhone and get reinforcements. What’s Michael Richards doing these days?
—Posted by David Gianatasio