Things that made me smile at “New Family”

image So, amidst all the folks that are either just joining the discussion around the new commercials, or still insisting that Microsoft ought to “fire back at Apple’s ads”… here’s a couple observations I made about “New Family”:

  1. Previous message: 
    “Y’know I imagine over the years you’ve mindmelded your magnum Jupiter brain to those other Saturn ring brains at Microsoft…” ”The Future… Delicious.”

    New message: 
    “You’ve connected over a billion people….”  “Perpetually Connecting = PC”

    I wondered to myself if people will notice how the series slowly changes from being essentially “about nothing” to being about “Microsoft and its products”.  The ‘sign off’ in this episode recognizes that Microsoft = PC, but it isn’t obnoxious and doesn’t throw mud at “the other camp” and refers to what it represents in a positive way:  Perpetually Connecting.

  2. From the “In case it hasn’t sunk in completely by now” file:
    It’s hopefully becoming clear to everyone watching that a direct message from us would likely be completely rejected by viewers.  So instead we’re delivering a message in a rather oblique, indirect manner.
  3. image This parody of “The Simple Life”, the infamous E! reality television show starting Paris Hilton & Nicole Richie is seems to be lost on a lot of people.  And that’s probably a good thing because it effectively targets a specific group of folks by using the context as a filter. 
  4. Once again, there are oodles of blogs & news articles about the new commercial – most of them never mentioning “The Simple Life” – but all of them pontificating about the commercial with their own interpretations and their own opinions. 
  5. Wow.  Some folks are going pretty deep into interpreting the commercials meaning: 

    For example, there could be a set of reoccurring symbols being used in these episodes.  Some refer to the symbolism of certain individual objects in the ads like “the gum”, “the broken car”, the empty ketchup bottle”, “the stale meal that needs cheese”, etc.  I saw that one person analyzed the very specific time references made in “New Family”:
    – The old lady that had “been around for 12 years”
    – The leather giraffe had “been in the family for 6 years”

  6. The media seems to be enjoying this fresh take.
    • “I think these ads (although this 4:30 minute skit is more like a mini-sitcom) are great.  Not great at selling product, since that’s not what they’re trying to do. But great entertainment, and humble and irreverent in a way that, say, Steve Jobs could never emulate.” –Dallas Morning News
    • “Gates & Seinfeld’s next commercial: Better. With funny parts. Now it’s kind of starting to make sense. Windows needs to think about how to adapt to the needs of real people.” –ZDNet
    • “Tonight’s ad explains that Gates and Seinfeld are on a quest to reconnect with real people, just like Microsoft is with the campaign. By embracing ordinary people — and contrasting them with the awkward rich guys — the ads are also a populist comeback to Apple’s "I’m a Mac-I’m a PC" ads that feature a hipster mocking an ordinary guy.” –Seattle Times
  7. These ads seem to make self-identified Linux & Mac users angry  In reading comments on some of the larger blogs & news sites, these Gates & Seinfeld ads seem to really bring the vitriol out of zealots.  For some reason, words like “stupid” and “waste” and “senseless” are used in long exhaustive comments.
  8. And finally:

    A co-worker of mine wrote something that I think really does a great job in discussing the science of advertising, something very few lay-people understand.

    ”When I took the Pepsi Challenge back in the 80’s, I had no idea the circumference of the cup and sample quantity would automatically make me prefer the sweeter cola — Pepsi. (Consume a small quantity of liquid from a narrow cup and the front of the tongue, which tastes sweetness, dominates your senses. Drink more of the same liquid from an ordinary soda can, and it hits the sides and back of your tongue – completely changing how it tastes to your brain).

    That elderly greeter at Wal-Mart may say “good morning” to you, but what he/she is really doing is distracting you from thinking about the list of things you came in for. If you simply stop and look up, the likelihood that you will purchase additional/unplanned items increases dramatically.

    Remember the original Budweiser “whazzzup” commercial? Seemed pointless, unless you recall how the last guy answered the question: “…watchin’ the game, havin’ a Bud.”  That’s right:  Your friends are all at home alone drinking, so forget about that silly stigma – grab yourself a Budweiser.

    Advertising can be very effective even if consumers never consciously understand the desired message. In fact, they often work better when the desired influence is unclear.”

p.s.  This fella dissected “New Family” down to the last detail:
Microsoft says Apple is Dijon mustard and extra cheese

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