So Much Hate For Microsoft’s Seinfeld/Gates Buddy Ad

I wasn't going to comment on Microsoft's new ad campaign featuring Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates buddying around, but the response among the press and bloggers is almost universally negative -- often in extreme ways, and I don't get why there's such a virulent negative reaction. Just a few examples:
  • Tip for MS: Fire the Advertising Agency
  • MSFT Ad is to PC/Mac Campaign as Zune is to iPod
  • Bill Gates, Jerry Seinfeld ad airs - Apple has nothing to worry about
  • Internet disses new Microsoft commercial
  • New Microsoft Seinfeld-Gates ad campaign starts with a dud
  • What's the deal with this commercial? No, seriously.
  • Microsoft Commercial Is Anything But Funny
  • Microsoft Seinfeld Ad Not Exactly a Hit
  • Bill Gates + Jerry Seinfeld = What?!!???
  • Seinfeld-Gates TV commercial -- vague, baffling and unfunny
  • Seinfeld Vista ad is out, and it's bizarre
  • First Microsoft/Seinfeld Ad Bombs
  • Seinfeld & Gates: Was this ad supposed to be funny?
  • First Gates-Seinfeld ad leaves us scratching our heads
And that's just a quick sampling that I grabbed in a few seconds. It goes on and on from there. To be honest, I'm not sure I get this massive negative reaction. The ad itself is a little silly and barely mentions Microsoft at all, but isn't that bad at all. And, to be perfectly frank, you have to think that Microsoft is thrilled with the reaction. It's gotten a ton more people talking about the campaign than any normal ad program, and it actually does a bit to humanize Bill Gates. And, it fits in with what we've been discussing about how advertising needs to be content first and advertising later.

Also, I'm a bit surprised that none of the commentators seem to be comparing this to the very similar efforts that American Express did four years ago also with Jerry Seinfeld. They created a series of "shorts" somewhat similar to the Seinfeld/Gates episode, and people enjoyed them. Is it just because it involves Microsoft that people react so negatively? Already Microsoft has been able to draw people into the storyline (even if negatively), and it can now use future episodes to continue to entertain and educate. That seems like a good thing, not something to be so widely trashed.

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