Bill and Jerry in Microsoft Shoe Circus

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld is working with Microsoft’s Bill Gates in an advertising campaign that has everyone guessing. The series of television commercials, reminiscent of Seinfeld’s conversations with Superman for American Express, begins with a low key encounter between the two men in a shoe shop. “Shoe Circus” was shown on national television in the United States during the first NFL game of the season, and is available to view at

Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld in shoe shop

Jerry spots Bill Gates in Shoe Circus, a store with quality shoes at discount prices. “Why pay more?” He walks in and offers Gates a bite of his churro. Bill’s fine but he could do with a bit of help choosing shoes. The Conquistadore shoes run very tight. Jerry suggests wearing them in the shower to get them to fit properly. With a bit of manipulation the shoe fits better. Gates, apparently, is a ten. Outside the shop window a Spanish-speaking family watch the proceedings. “Is that the Conquistador?” Gates produces his platinum Shoe Circus Club card, with a photograph taken from his student days.

Bill Gates Shoe Circus Club card

The spot finishes with Seinfeld and Gates walking out of the shopping centre, carrying shoes and eating churro. Seinfeld asks for a signal that Microsoft will bring out something that makes the computer moist and chewy like cake. Gates adjusts his boxers to give the signal. It’s a very subtle way of introducing three words: “The Future: Delicious”.

Click on the image below to play the video.

The Shoe Circus ad is the first in an ongoing $300 million campaign being developed by Crispin Porter + Bogusky, by executive creative director Rob Reilly, creative director Tim Roper, associate creative director/art director Dave Steinke, associate creative director Michael Craven, and agency producer Chris Webb.

Filming was shot by Bryan Buckley via Hungry Man, with director of photography John Lindley, executive produces Kevin Byrne, Cindy Becker, Dan Duffy and line producer Mino Jarjoura.

According to the Microsoft press release, these initial ads are the first in a creative campaign designed to spark a conversation about the Windows brand – a conversation that will evolve as the campaign progresses, but will always be marked by humor and humanity.

“Windows is entering a new chapter in our history,” says Bill Veghte, Senior Vice President, Online Services & Windows Business Group. “We’re renewing our commitment to consumers and working with our partners to deliver quality and value on the PC, across devices and across the Web.”

So far, the public response in general has not been enthusiastic, judging by popular blogs such as Techcrunch and Gizmodo. Seinfeld’s brand of humour, made famous in his television series between 1989 and 1998, is associated with the era of Microsoft Windows 3.0, 95 and 98. Having an ad about nothing has disappointed the many Microsoft fans who were looking forward to a robust payback for the punishment meted out in Apple’s Get A Mac series.

For an attempt at an indepth analysis of the Shoe Circus commercial, take a look at the post by Rick C. Hodgin and Wolfgang Gruener at TG Daily. They suggest that the shoe shop is a reference to Apple stores that provide products that are inconvenient and don’t fit. They have a go at the Spanish connection throughout the video, with some thoughtful, perhaps too thoughtful consideration of the churro snack that appears throughout. The Conquistador shoe, they propose, is a reference to the silly names given to Apple products. Only problem with this theory is that Apple products aren’t usually sold at cut price.

Watch. Wait. See. This campaign may take some to boot up.