Seinfeld and Gates hit the road for Vista

In the second installment of the new ad push, the Microsoft chairman and the TV star move in with a family. Spoiler alert: This time Gates does the "robot dance."

Those left scratching their heads after Microsoft's first new ad may find themselves just as itchy after the follow-up spot.

screenshot Seinfeld and Gates
A screenshot from the new Microsoft spot launching Thursday night. Microsoft; CNET News

The second in Microsoft's series of new ads airs Thursday night, featuring Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld moving in with a family of "real people" in order to connect with them. The humor seems slightly better to me, but the references to Microsoft's products remain tangential.

In this spot, whose plot appears taken from every sit-com ever made, the two displace a adolescent girl from her room. In an effort to get her room back, she and her siblings set Seinfeld and Gates up as having stolen a family heirloom. That ultimately prompts Gates and Seinfeld to hit the road, with Gates taunting the girl on the way out: "You're not so real."

The latest spot is a two-part ad, with the first part showing on CBS' Big Brother. (an extended version with both parts of the ad should post tonight to Windows.com.) At the end of the new spot, Seinfeld again asks Gates to give him a sign if he's on the right track in guessing what's next. Thankfully, there was no repeat of the butt-wiggle. This time, Gates does his version of the 1980s robot dance.

The ads are the beginnings of an expensive and ambitious effort by Microsoft to try to reclaim the Windows image after letting rival Apple mock it for years.

As for the less than direct start, Microsoft spokesman Eric Hollreiser likens it to starting off a business presentation with a joke.

"It allows you to have a different kind of conversation after you've disarmed (the audience) a bit," he said.

While Microsoft isn't saying just when it will get more direct in its sales pitch, the ads are expected to start talking turkey soon.

"I know there has been some question about 'Is this it?'" he said. "No."

CNET News is published by CBS Interactive, a unit of CBS.

About the author

    During her years at CNET News, Ina Fried has changed beats several times, changed genders once, and covered both of the Pirates of Silicon Valley. These days, most of her attention is focused on Microsoft. E-mail Ina.

     

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