Microsoft is expected to announce Thursday that it will be suspending its ad campaign featuring Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and veteran comedy superstar Jerry Seinfeld.
Valleywag broke the news Wednesday, and Microsoft spokesperson Frank Shaw told the LA Times that the move was planned, despite the appearance that the company is reacting to negative reaction to the ads.
According to Mr. Shaw, the Seinfeld portion of the campaign, for which he was reportedly paid some US$10 million, was always intended to be just an introduction for the overall campaign -- a two commercial introduction for $10 million.
"All along we said we were having a teaser campaign," he told the LA Times. "We're getting ready to start the second phase. This was the plan all along."
The ads, which featured Mssrs. Seinfeld and Gates in ordinary situations discussing how Microsoft needs to get back in touch with its customers, have largely been panned (this reporter said they were great in the most recent Apple Weekly Report #132 podcast), with many people saying they didn't make sense.
Pundits and critics suggested the ads were an attempt by the company to counter Apple's successful "I'm a Mac" commercials starring Justin Long as the personification of the cool and hip "Mac" and John Hodgman as the stodgy "PC."
Microsoft said in the second commercial that it was trying to reconnect with customers, from whom the company, as personified by Mssrs. Gates and Seinfeld, had become distant. To most, the ads were just as distant as Microsoft itself.
Be that as it may, Big Redmond has planned on spending some $300 million on the broader campaign, which will presumably be taking a new different direction.
As of this writing, the ads are still featured on Microsoft's Windows Web page. I checked the website and I see that there are ads of only Microsoft products.