It's Official: Microsoft's Seinfeld Ads Stink

Remember the Bill Gates-Jerry Seinfeld ads, which many people thought were some of the worst ads of all time? Well, the results are in: Those ads were so bad that even Microsoft users thought worse of Microsoft after watching them. So says a company that measures the effect of advertising on brand equity.

As I wrote in Is Microsoft's Seinfeld spot the worst TV ad ever?, the ad was humorless, pointless, bland, and boring. I concluded, "If there's ever been a worse technology ad, I haven't seen it."

Read Is Microsoft's Seinfeld spot the worst TV ad ever? to see the actual ad.

Clearly, I wasn't alone in my reaction. According to the New York Times, Brand Keys, a New York-based market research firm, studied the effects of Mac and Apple advertising on 400 Mac and PC users. Here's what the firm found out about the first Seinfeld ad, according to the Times:

After seeing the ad, both Apple and Microsoft users had a more negative perception of Microsoft in the areas of innovation, technology, trouble-free design, and warranty and pricing. "When you see an ad perform this poorly," said Amy Shea, the executive vice president at Brand Keys who conducted the research, "you've got a real problem."

Apple's ads, by way of contrast, were quite effective. Here's what the study concluded, according to the Times:

"Off the Air," an ad that promised Apple stores would help customers switch from Windows to Apple's Mac platform, was highly successful in lifting the brand equity that Apple users felt around the concept of "innovation, design and added value" -- a factor that drives loyalty. The spot also improved PC users' perception of Macs for their "trouble-free performance, service and support."

There was some good news for Microsoft, according to the Times:

"I am a PC" -- the egalitarian response to Apple that Microsoft has settled on for its ongoing campaign -- has worked well to lift PC users' perception of the brand as technologically and environmentally advanced.

The upshot? Don't expect to see Seinfeld in Microsoft's ad blitz for Windows 7.

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