If it weren't for Bill Gates' starring in the newest "teaser" spot for Microsoft, you might not have any clue what this whole "Shoe Circus" business is about:
By now many have seen the 90 second spot that stars Jerry Seinfeld and the legendary Bill Gates himself sharing numerous awkward exchanges while shopping at a discount shoe store. It isn't until more than a full minute into the ad that the word "Microsoft" is uttered, and even then there is no direct reference to any new product - a fact which has merited some harsh criticisms throughout the blogosphere. Youtube users ask, "So were they selling Churros or shoes?" and explain, "I didn't see anything that was trying to sell me computers or computer software."
Well... putting aside the fact that Microsoft doesn't deal in computer hardware as it is, I'm going to thank the critics for shining light on the situation: this commercial is not trying to sell software.
At least... not yet.
The truth is that I love this teaser ad and I think it's absolutely brilliant. For the past few years, Apple has made a very clear impression on all of us that Macs rule, PCs drool. Apple computers are young, hip, and fun, while PCs (presumably running Microsoft operating systems) are boring, old workaholics. So what does Crispin Porter & Bogusky do? CP&B shows Bill Gates as a boring, old man buying work shoes. There is no glitz, no glamour - he's at a bargain Shoe Circus, bearing a club card with his mugshot from a crazy night in New Mexico. But do any of us have a lower opinion of Bill Gates now that we've seen him as the perfect incarnation of Apple's image of the traditional Microsoft user? Of course not! We all know that Bill was the nerdy kid in high school, and we also know that he grew up to be a filthy rich, world-famous genius.
Beyond all this, Microsoft is long overdue for some seriously impressive innovations, judging by negative press associated with Windows Vista. Or perhaps if the Mojave experiment spots are telling the truth, they only need to get consumers to open their minds to the improvements already happening. That, my friends, is what this strange, somewhat uncomfortable Shoe Circus deal is all about. The commercial doesn't try to sell Vista or any other Microsoft OS - it's a teaser designed to get viewers wondering about this new "delicious" release Gates has up his sleeve. Isn't that what buzz is all about?