The Bill and Jerry Show

I wasn’t anywhere near a TV Thursday night, so I missed the debut of Microsoft’s much-ballyhooed ad campaign featuring Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld. (One Macworld staffer’s two-word critique that arrived in my inbox shortly after 5:15 p.m. PT: “Oh my.”) The $300 million series of ads—for which the eponymous star of Seinfeld is reportedly getting paid $10 million—is intended to perk up Microsoft’s stodgy image while also emphasizing the ability of the Windows OS to break down barriers. (“Windows, Not Walls” is the theme for the ad campaign.) And hey, if Microsoft and Seinfeld happen to land a couple of blows at Apple’s expense, consider it payback for years of mockery at the hands of John Hodgman.

But while I might have missed the Seinfeld ad’s debut, I’ve seen it now—oh man, have I seen it. And now, thanks to our friends at MacUser and the miracle of YouTube embedding, you can see it, too. G’wan—click on the link. I’ll wait until you get back.

Finished watching? Managed to un-boogle your mind yet? Yeah, I’m still a little hazy myself. But here’s the message(s) I think the ad was trying to convey.

  • Not satisfied with its software, services, and hardware offerings, Microsoft is apparently getting into the shoe business.
  • Microsoft will never, ever sell churros.
  • Computers that are “moist and chewy like cakes so we could just eat them while we were working” now replaces the “lickable” Aqua interface as the most unfortunate food-related computing metaphor ever.
  • If Jerry Seinfeld approaches you in a mall, for God’s sake, avoid making eye contact.
  • If you, like me, have ever said anything uncharitable about Justin Long’s contributions to the Get a Mac campaign, this is your opportunity to join me in recanting and apologizing. Justin, baby—you may not be my cup of tea, but as that 90 second Microsoft clip just taught me, things could always be worse.

Other than that, though, I think the point of that debut ad may have beyond the understanding of my unsophisticated ape brain. If there was something in there about Microsoft products helping you overcome barriers, I obviously missed it. If there was a cruel laugh to be had at Apple’s expense—Microsoft will buy you a churro… and Apple won’t?—I certainly didn’t hear it. And if there was a sales pitch made at some point during the proceedings, I must have been in the other room making a sandwich.

So, enlighten me. What was the point of that Bill Gates-Jerry Seinfeld ad? I worry that my lack of understanding will haunt me the rest of the weekend.

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