Better, Funnier Videos Featuring Bill Gates and Celebrities

“Was this ad supposed to be funny?” is the question that a lot of techies are asking after having seen the first of the new series of Microsoft ads featuring Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld. The ad, which sets up both the tone for future commercials and the Bill/Jerry dynamic, could’ve been lifted straight from any number of Seinfeld episodes. In fact, the “Churro? No thanks” exchange is practically a repeat of the “Snapple? No.” exchanges in the episodes The Virgin and The Visa.

It’s a real shame that the ad turned out this way because there’s prior work with Bill and celebrities that is funny and gives Microsoft a warmer, fuzzier image. Here are two of the most notable ones…

Bill and John Heder in a Napoleon Dynamite Spoof

This video was shown at Microsoft’s 2005 Professional Developers Conference, and unlike the ad with Seinfeld, it makes good use of the source material and the guest star, and better still, it’s actually funny. They could’ve easily repurposed this ad or called Jon Heder to shoot some more:

Bill Gates’ Last Day

This one’s not as funny or as clever as the Napoleon Dynamiteone, but it’s still amusing and cute: it’s a video shown at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year that purports to be a documentary of Bill’s last full day at Microsoft. This one features a boatload of celebrities: Bono, Hillary Clinton, Bob Costas, Al Gore, Barack Obama, George Clooney, Jay-Z, Matthew McConaughey, Jon Stewart, Steven Spielberg and Brian Williams.

We’ll have to wait ands see if the next Gates/Seinfeld ad is any better, or at least generates more than a mild chuckle. They’ve got nowhere to go but up…

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