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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Who are the ad wizards who came up with this one?

Now, if you don't recognize the above post title as a classic "Saturday Night Live" sketch -- you know, back when Tina Fey didn't have to save the show from creative bankruptcy with her killer Sarah Palin impression -- well, shame on you.

Then again, that sketch aired back when everything a certain Mr. Seinfeld touched turned to gold (Jerry, gold!)

These days ... well, it's either a backlash from all those miserable "Bee Movie" TV junior spots or Mac spokesmen Justin Long and John Hodgman just weren't meant to be messed with.

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that those shiny new Microsoft ads with Seinfeld and comedy savant, Bill Gates, are being pulled. Microsoft spokesman Frank Shaw told the Times that the move was planned well in advance and wasn't a result of mixed or negative response from the public.

"All along we said we were having a teaser campaign," he said. "We're getting ready to start the second phase. This was the plan all along."

Second phase? Hmmm ... the McCain camp might want to hire this spin doctor to make the economy look good again.

If the spots were doing well -- and the second ad with Seinfeld playing ping pong seemed to be getting plenty of airplay -- you'd think Microsoft would be willing to run them into the ground. Then again, critics have cited the Microsoft pitch as a weak attempt at trumping Apple's popular Mac-PC ads with Long and Hodgman, which let's face it, are pretty hard to beat. Also, Seinfeld, who reportedly received $10 million (yeah, for a "teaser" campaign), looked like a dated spokesperson considering he was popular way back when the Backstreet Boys were all the rage.

My opinion: the first ad was incredibly strained, the second ad (long version below) was clever and amusing. Let's call it a push and just agree that Microsoft should have hired Lloyd Braun. That dude can move computers. Serenity now!

But onto the real issue: has Seinfeld lost it? I'm still bitter because I feel I'm owed an exclusive coffee table book even though I didn't buy the complete "Seinfeld" DVD set, just the individual ones ... but I still think he's incredibly talented and funny.

Since "Bee Movie," though, it seems a lot of criticism -- right or wrong -- has been swirling around ol' Jer. We're not talking Michael Richards-level scorn here. But does anyone want to make the argument that Seinfeld is no longer (gasp!) spongeworthy?

-- Thomas Rozwadowski,

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