Seinfeld on Marketing: Secret weapons and selling computers

It’s that time again. In this episode of Seinfeld on Marketing, Frank Costanza is talking to his son, George, about how he is selling computers.

GEORGE: You’re selling computers?

FRANK: Two months ago, I saw a provocative movie on cable TV. It was called The Net, with that girl from the bus. I did a little reading, and I realize, it wasn’t that far-fetched.

GEORGE: Dad, you know what it takes to compete with Microsoft and IBM?

FRANK: Yes, I do. That’s why I got a secret weapon… my son.

Unfortunately, when your secret weapon is George Costanza, well…I’m sure you know how that turned out.

Now, this time around it is Microsoft that has a secret weapon. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft is about to launch a $300 million ad campaign featuring Jerry Seinfeld. The ads are to air starting September 4th under the slogan of “Windows, Not Walls” and will try to combat Apple’s “Mac vs. PC” ads.

The Journal article goes on to quote Microsoft’s Chief Executive, Steve Ballmer, in an e-mail he sent to his employees in July:

‘In the weeks ahead, we’ll launch a campaign to address any lingering doubts our customers may have about Windows Vista.’ He said that later in the year the company will roll out ‘a more comprehensive effort to redefine the meaning and value of Windows for our customers.’

So what do you think? I’d love to believe that my hero Jerry Seinfeld could turn around a failing Vista and Zune, but I have my doubts. Do you think that Jerry has what it takes? Does any celebrity have that kind of power?

[Seinfeld Side note: Did you know that Jerry Seinfeld was in an Apple "Think Different" ad? It only aired once during the final episode of Seinfeld.]

Happy Friday all!

This post is part of a weekly series, Seinfeld on Marketing.

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3 Responses

  1. There are much more with-it stars they could have picked.

  2. First, Bill, I have to assume your marketing pants are going crazy on this move.

    I’ll have to hold my judgments until I actually see the ads. My gut tells me that Jerry is a great spokesperson for people that already lean to Microsoft, but won’t do much for the Apple evangelists. We have to admit that Seinfeld is the last generation’s “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”

    I personally find the Mac vs. PC ad campaign brilliant, so I don’t see anything beating it. Apple has done a great job making me not want to be that PC guy, even if I am that PC guy (and I am).

  3. Brett,

    Unfortunately after seeing the commercial, I am under-whelmed. Maybe, it will be a series of commercials and it will get better. But as far as the this commercials goes, 2 stars out of 5.

    And as far as “redefin[ing] the meaning and value of Windows for [their] customers” I think tehy’ll need much more than an advertising campaign.

    Have you now seen the ad Brett? If so, what did you think?

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