Letters, Sept. 15, 2008

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Mixed reviews for Gates, Seinfeld spot

RE: "Talk About Bizarro World: Bill Clowns Around With Jerry" ("AdReview," AA, Sept. 8). The commercial confused me the first time I watched it. There should be much more clarity about what it's actually about.

Mildly amusing, sure, but Seinfeld's delivery is indistinguishable from his American Express commercial shtick. This execution is shackled by ad clutter and the fact that Bill Gates doesn't really have a "TV persona" we can identify with.

For most Americans, Bill Gates has been something of a reclusive multibillionaire techno baron hanging out with Warren Buffet. Suddenly he goes from his industry-related appearances and news interviews to this lovable, goofy geek?

Gates might've done better to host an episode of "Saturday Night Live" to take the mysterious/serious edge off his image before they unleashed this campaign. It looks like he's tranquilized in the commercial. For $300 million they could have come up with better creative than this.
Mark Flythe
New York

Two stars, Bob? Seems like two stars too many.

I'll first disagree with your premise that Apple has repositioned Microsoft as "harmless." The flaws that Apple has so effectively targeted ultimately cost the consumer time, energy and peace of mind. That's harm.

Microsoft's problems won't be solved by advertising. It should have taken that massive ad budget and instead invested it in creating something that serves a need. And if it was feeling that it must respond to Apple in this medium, the selection of this particular execution simply proves how clueless the company really is.

This is advertising about advertising, self-indulgent and almost totally meaningless to those to whom it's meant to communicate.
Matthew Fenton

The first time I saw it, I was half-watching and thought, "Wait, was that Seinfeld with Bill Gates?" Like other people, I assumed it was a spot for American Express. Then I thought, "Hold on, were they trying on shoes? I need to see this damn thing again." The second time I saw it, I laughed at the shower line and kept thinking about how bizarre the ad was and then thought, "Wait, was that a churro, and what did Seinfeld just say?" The third time, I finally really listened and laughed. And laughed again. And thought, "Bill Gates is hilarious! And he has that great foundation." That's honestly what I thought. CP+B=mission accomplished.
Hilary Murdock

CMOs shouldn't fear temps

We read with dismay the article "Beware, CMO: A Temp Might Steal Your Post" (AA, Sept. 8). As practitioners of interim management, we reject the notion that any competent CMO should worry about being replaced by the marketing practitioner you described.

Being a great "temp" senior-level marketing person involves more than knowing something about marketing and being available. You have to learn the business fast, find the low-hanging fruit that will make a difference in the performance of the business, motivate a frightened work force and keep the eye on the ball for outside resources who are rightly worried about losing the business. You generally have to leave brand building and upgrading of resources to the incoming permanent person.
Leslie H. Green
Ken Roffe
Roffe & Green
Purchase, N.Y.

Readers respond to Palin pick

The rebranding choice was a choice made from a deep hole. After all, the brand has been tarnished with runaway fiscal irresponsibility resulting in cumulative deficit spending of nearly $5 trillion (doubling the national debt in eight years), an unpopular war in Iraq started on the basis of bald lies, 6.1% unemployment, 6% inflation, a housing crisis and a tragic stock market. Face it, brand performance is in the dumper. Picking Palin was inspired desperation, but that's all it was. For yellow-dog brand loyalists, he could have picked a monkey to be his running mate, and they would have voted McCain anyway. It doesn't seem to matter how much the party has mismanaged the country or its finances. The only thing Palin will do is stop Republicans from jumping to Obama—it won't make independents move, and it won't make Hillary supporters move. Hillary is an Audi and Palin an Arctic Cat, and there's no intersection between those brands.
Lynne Mysliwiec
Wakefield, Mass.

If John McCain's vice-presidential pick is such a rotten choice for John McCain, then why all the fuss? One would think the Obama camp would be popping champagne corks and donning party hats to celebrate victory. Hmm.
Jim Mij
Corbett, Ore.
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