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No more yada yada: Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates ads are ending

September 17, 2008 |  5:46 pm
Seinfeld Gates ad

Microsoft is preparing to pull its TV ads featuring comedian Jerry Seinfeld and Microsoft's co-founder and chairman Bill Gates.

Microsoft spokesman Frank Shaw said the end of the Seinfeld ads was planned well in advance, and wasn't coming in response to any criticism of the spots. "All along we said we were having a teaser campaign," he said. "We're getting ready to start the second phase. This was the plan all along."

The news, broken this afternoon by Valleywag, comes just days after Microsoft aired the latest in the series of commercials, produced by Crispin Porter + Bogusky, featuring the two men in comic situations. The ads have been largely panned as a strained effort on the software giant's part to not only promote Windows but also portray Microsoft as cool and in touch with regular consumers -- basically, to counter the stodgy image painted in Apple's "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" ads.

Seinfeld, who reportedly received $10 million for his efforts, was a superstar in the 1990s with his hit show. Using him now, in 2008, only added to Microsoft's image as being behind the times, critics said. Some viewers, such as the writers on Ars Technica, said the ads just left them scratching their heads. (If you can't easily find the ads on YouTube, Microsoft provides them on its site).

In the first ad, the two meet each other in a mall and pick out new shoes. In the next ad, which is in two parts, Gates and Seinfeld stay with a so-called normal family so they can work on a shared problem: To break out of their elite bubbles and connect with real people.

But the stay with the family doesn't go well, culminating with Bill Gates telling a little girl, "You're not so real." (I actually howled.)

Just unleash Gates, without the cardigan and avuncular image, sticking it to the smug "I'm a Mac" guy.

-- Michelle Quinn

Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld in a TV ad by Microsoft

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