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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

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September 11, 2008 5:15 PM

Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld, take two: Bill's mother ship over Seattle

Posted by Brier Dudley

Now we know what they're up to.

The second Bill Gates-Seinfeld ad that's debuting tonight during "Big Brother" on CBS is a million times better than the freaky churro spot that kicked off the $300 million Windows campaign last week.

Tonight's ad explains that Gates and Seinfeld are on a quest to reconnect with real people, just like Microsoft is with the campaign.

That's why they were hanging around the mall in the first ad, which in retrospect seems intended only to get attention with its obtuseness.

Episode two has Gates and Seinfeld staying with a "normal" family. After experiencing "real life," Gates asks Seinfeld to remind him why they're doing this (the question everybody asked last week ...).

"We need to connect with real people," Seinfeld said,

He reminds Gates that "you and I are a little out of it. You're living in some kind of moon house hovering over Seattle like the mother ship. I got so many cars I get stuck in my own traffic."

(Maybe for episode 3, they should help a family pay their monthly bills and avoid foreclosure...)

You can read the ad as a parody of the consumer focus groups companies like Microsoft obsess about.

By embracing ordinary people -- and contrasting them with the awkward rich guys -- the ads are also a populist comeback to Apple's "I'm a Mac-I'm a PC" ads that feature a hipster mocking an ordinary guy.

Is it enough to make mainstream consumers get excited about Windows again? I wonder how many will just scratch their heads and wonder what's going on.

Here it is, via the commenter below:

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Gadgets and games | Fun stuff I've written about lately includes Apple's iPhone, Hewlett-Packard's HDX laptop and Microsoft's Halo3. Also on the radar are new digital video boxes such as the Tivo HD and the Vudu.