Imagine if Steve Case and Jerry Seinfeld paired up to star in a $300 million advertising campaign, played out over several months, with the specific goal of convincing customers both old and new that AOL is the best new old online service on the internet. Would you bite?
That's what came to mind as I watched Bill Gates and Seinfeld starring in the second commercial in the $300 million ad campaign by launched by Microsoft, to "connect" with real computer users again. Oh, and to make PCs seem as relevant and cool to today's users as Apple's Mac.
This commercial is a lot better than the first in the series in my view. It works in an odd sort of way as a 4 minute and 30 second pilot of a sitcom idea featuring two retired icons in their respective fields, doing a road trip to "connect" with ordinary people in any given episode.
If you're curious what other geeks think of this ad and campaign, check out the discussion on Techmeme. I did like the tag line of the commercial "Perpetually Connecting", if only for the wistfulness of a nice dream to have.
But watching the commercial the second time around, it only brought to mind how old brands in technology strive to make themselves relevant again.
This piece by Saul Hansell at the New York Times taking a look at why people still use AOL brings the point home with a vengeance.
Is Microsoft on it's way to being tomorrow's AOL? And what can they do about it besides making commercials?