Gates, Seinfeld Funnier Second Time Around

But New Microsoft Ad Still Avoids Talking About What's Being Promoted

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- In the latest Microsoft ad out of Crispin Porter & Bogusky, Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld try to blend in.
An extended version of the new commercial, which is called 'New Family' and broke last night on CBS during 'Big Brother,' is already being passed around on the web.
An extended version of the new commercial, which is called 'New Family' and broke last night on CBS during 'Big Brother,' is already being passed around on the web.

In the ad, the pair is trying to reconnect with "real people," living with a, well, more quirky than typical American family. The campaign's latest installment prompts more laughs than the first and, again, Mr. Gates shines. In one scene, he reads a bedtime story to the child, who asks, "Are there any monsters in this story?" Mr. Gates answers, "Yes, but it's OK, there are firewalls."

Mr. Seinfeld delivers his classic shtick as well, explaining to Mr. Gates the importance of reconnecting with real folks because he and Mr. Gates are surrounded by the trappings of wealth: "I've got so many cars, I get myself in traffic jams."

Soft sell
And, after four minutes and 10 seconds of humor, they finally get to Windows. Mr. Seinfeld says Mr. Gates has "connected over a billion people. I can't help but wonder what's next. Frog with an e-mail? Goldfish with a website? Amoeba with a blog? If it's yes, give me a sign, give me a little robot."

Mr. Gates does an abbreviated robot dance.

"OK, power down," says Mr. Seinfeld. "Let's go."

What the latest spot brings -- which seemed unlikely with the first spot, dubbed "The Conquistador," that broke last week -- is the potential for the ad to go viral. An extended version of the new commercial, which is called "New Family" and broke last night on CBS during "Big Brother," is already being passed around on the web.

Hints of something bigger
When Microsoft talks about what the ad is promoting, it cites all versions of Windows: Vista, Windows Mobile and Windows Live, the web-based system. But it also seems to indicate something more is coming. Whether that something is a completely new product is not clear.

Most likely, any new introductions will be incremental changes. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has said that changes are coming to make Windows more useful and relevant, and Bill Veghte, senior VP-online services and Windows Business Group, said new PCs that take advantage of those changes will be coming throughout the fall.

Microsoft is working more closely with hardware vendors, Mr. Ballmer told employees recently, to create better experiences, akin to what Apple is able to do with its hardware and operating system. Microsoft is also bolstering its presence in retailers, placing what it calls "gurus" in stores such as Best Buy and Circuit City to help educate consumers on Windows. The move has been compared to Apple's use of a "genius bar," an in-store help desk where Apple experts can troubleshoot and answer questions for consumers.
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