Monday, November 12, 2007

What the hell are you selling?

You may have seen the HP commercials where they show some famous person's hands displaying the features of their laptops. They've used Serena Williams, Vera Wang, Jay-Z and others in the past, and their newest iteration features comedian Jerry Seinfeld. For those of you familiar with his stand up routines and eponymously named television show, you probably remember Seinfeld as being funny -- hilarious, even. Prepare to be surprised:

Seinfeld: Well If I'm going to do one of those HP computer hand commercial things, I gotta be impressive.

Very "meta" here right at the beginning -- referencing the ad campaign you're currently extending. I guess that's one way to go. Perhaps rather than attempting to be "impressive," Seinfeld should have tried to be "funny."

Seinfeld: Here's my newly-designed basketball stadium. Wait, that's not me.

This is the "funny" part. Don't get it? Why, didn't you see and somehow remember every detail in this other HP commercial a few years ago? Now do you understand the hilarity? If you didn't guffaw the first time you heard his joke, I urge you to write a note of apology and send it to Mr. Seinfeld.

Seinfeld: I did a TV show about New York, and now I've made a movie that takes place in New York, except in this, I'm a bee!

Man, can't a guy just watch a 1-minute commercial for a computer company without a million interruptions? Not only do we get a plug for the '90's hit sit-com "Seinfeld," but we also get one for the long-hyped, heroically-publicized "Bee Movie."

Incidentally, "Bee Movie" currently has a 51% positive review rating on Rotten Tomatoes. That = not good.

Seinfeld: Hang on, message from the wife - oh, it's a manuscript for her new cookbook that gets kids eatin' better without them knowing it. There's carrots in there, ya know.

Another non-HP product: Jessica Seinfeld's book, "Deceptively Delicious." Now, this one I'm pretty sure they don't want to be associated with. Turns out the publisher of Seinfeld's book turned down the manuscript for a nearly-identical cookbook called "The Sneaky Chef" half a year before "Deceptively Delicious" came out.

In defending his wife against claims of plagiarism, Seinfeld took the high road -- calling "The Sneaky Chef"'s author a "wacko" and would-be assassin. Comedy gold.

Seinfeld: She's a genius.

Top 5 Smartest Things in History
1. Theory of Relativity
2. "Principia Mathematica"
3. Mapping the Human Genome
4. Baking spinach into brownies, making them incrementally healthier
5. Theory of Natural Selection

Seinfeld: Oh, message from DreamWorks - don't forget, two "Bee Movie" mentions in HP spot.

Another third party mention with the studio name drop. What's worse, plugging your movie in a commercial for an unrelated product, or calling attention to the fact that you mandated that very same plug?

For the record, it's actually three mentions ("Bee Movie" logo appears on-screen at the end.)

Seinfeld: You know what? This is a business lunch.

Oh, don't worry -- we picked up on that. Whatever you're doing, Seinfeld, it's definitely unrelated to comedy.

Announcer: The HP Pavilion Entertainment notebook with Windows Vista Home Premium.

Final non-HP product tally in this HP commercial: "Bee Movie," "Deceptively Delicious," DreamWorks, "Bee Movie" again, Windows, Vista, "Bee Movie" a-fucking-gain.

7 other product mentions in your commercial. And what was it, exactly, that you wanted me to buy, HP?


Windier E. Megatons said...

This is an odd ad campaign. What's "personal" about never seeing someone's face? This reminds me of that Dunkin Donuts ad I talked about a while back that was more an ad for Rachael Ray than Dunkin Donuts; this is FAR more an ad for Seinfeld and his projects than for HP. I hope they got sizable product placement in Bee Movie, for their sakes.

Andrew N.P. said...

Product placement... for a brand of personal computers... in a movie about bees. I'm thinking that's a no.

The problem with this campaign is more fundamental than Jerry Seinfeld. It's great to know what celebrities can do with an HP computer, but it says little about what I, John Q. Consumer, can do with it. If I'm in the market for a new computer, I want facts, figures, specs. At the least, I want to know how much the damn thing costs.

(BTW, thanks for crediting me on the AT&T spot. I'm probably your only "loyal reader" so far, unless you guys count yourselves.)