George Costanza Needs Google Wallet

Old 'Seinfeld' clip pays off

To introduce Google Wallet, the tech giant has rolled out the spot below, from R/GA, which adapts a classic bit from Seinfeld. The app, launched Monday for Sprint's Nexus S 4G smartphone, lets folks tap and pay for goods and services with the phone instead of carrying credit cards that could add unwanted heft to their wallets. Here, George Costanza's attempt to add a slip of paper containing Google Wallet's Web address to his ridiculously bulbous billfold spells disaster. Contrast this approach with Microsoft's much-maligned Jerry Seinfeld campaign from a few years back. Jerry just didn't click in a modern context, and his kibitzing with Bill Gates was generally viewed as awkward, which did little to bolster the Microsoft brand. Google wisely uses a doctored scene from the show, presenting the George we all know and love rather than employ actor Jason Alexander in a new scenario. We immediately identify with the beloved character's travails, and the vintage clip subtly reinforces the message that Google Wallet is the wave of the future that helps liberate consumers from troublesome modes of the past. As for the requisite shrinkage joke, well, let's just say that with the way the economy's been going, some wallets are already petering out.