I think I finally “get” the Microsoft Seinfeld ads

The blogosphere has been all… atwitter (oh, I went there [“there” being a new level of punster stupidity])… over the past week or so concerning the inexplicably terrible Microsoft Seinfeld commercials. And now, abruptly, they’ve killed off those ads and switched to a new campaign, entitled “I’m a PC,” intended to change the image of what a PC (and, by extension, a PC user) looks like. Sorry, Mac-using John Hodgman, you’re no longer the human embodiment of lowered technological expectations.

But a mystery remains… what the hell was the deal with Those Stupid Seinfeld Ads™? And did Microsoft really intend to kill them off so soon? To the latter question, I’d have to say “Probably not.” But I think I may at last have discovered an answer to the former.

I saw one of the new ads last night during The Daily Show and I thought it was, surprisingly, pretty good. But it makes no sense that they did Those Stupid Seinfeld Ads™ and then jumped to this.

The only explanation I can muster is that Those Stupid Seinfeld Ads™ were like a palate cleanser. When you go to the World of Coca-Cola museum in Atlanta (as I did a few times when I lived there), there’s a room where they have fountain dispensers of every flavor of soda the company produces worldwide. There’s one called Beverly that they produce only for the Italian market that is clear and extremely bitter tasting. And it’s used solely to cleanse the palate when you’re doing wine tastings and such (at least, that’s how I understand it). It’s godawful, but that’s the point.

Maybe that’s the case with Those Stupid Seinfeld Ads™ too.

Addendum/Full Disclosure: After I wrote this I lingered a while on The Daily Show website, and got lured into an “I’m a PC” banner ad at the top… which lured me to Microsoft’s ad site… which lured me into finally watching the second Seinfeld ad, “The Family.” And I actually found moments of it kind of funny. I even (*gasp*) laughed out loud a couple of times. Oops. But still… there’s an extremely feeble thread woven into the very last moments of it, tenuously tying it to the new “I’m a PC” ads (Seinfeld’s mention of Gates having connected over a billion people). So they’ve almost managed to present this as a cohesive marketing strategy. Almost.