Seinfeld off Microsoft and Onto Short Bus

Two's a crowd.So, Microsoft flushed its co-branding initiative with Jerry Seinfeld like Duchamp?s Dadaist toilet (which is a polite way of describing what many critics have regarded as absurdist excrement ? see Maria Russo?s astute analysis at her Los Angeles Times blog). It?s unclear who Microsoft?s ad agency, Crispin Porter & Bogusky, was targeting with the waning entertainment brand and the corporate behemoth. Seinfeld nostalgists? Gates acolytes? The TV spot (and its YouTube half-life) will likely be the only in the series released, as rumors suggest the rest of the campaign has been kyboshed due to a lingering aftertaste of WTF. I had just absorbed this minor newspeg, when out of the ether came the following press release:

When the Seinfeld Campus Tour rolls up to the University of San Francisco on Wednesday, October 15, one thing is certain?they will have no trouble remembering where they parked.

The Seinfeld Campus Tour is a pioneering 26-city, 10,000 mile cross-country tour designed to introduce the hit sitcom to college students who were too young to appreciate the show?s hip, sophisticated comedy during its original network run…

Decoded: Since your parents spared you the antics of these chatty TV misanthropes, we?re going to bludgeon your demographic with a bus until you?re oversaturated brand-loyalists like Seinfeld syndicators TBS, which targets predominately white men and women with a median age of 37, 32% of whom make $75K+ and have a yen for consumer electronics (source: Nielsen Media Research, 2007). According to NYC PR firm The Rosen Group, a ?60-foot long ?Seinfeld? branded, bio-diesel fueled bus? containing a ?mini-museum? of props and costumes from the comedian?s titular show will roll to colleges and Best Buy locations throughout the nation, pumping an upcoming DVD release. Moreover, ?Twix, black & white cookies, Snickers and non-fat frozen yogurt, a wall of ?Seinfeld? framed production and gallery stills with behind-the-scenes captions, laptops to explore ?Seinfeld? online and a Monk?s-style ?Scene It?? lounge where the public can sample the new DVD trivia game? will be on hand to further distract college students from their studies. Ack. There?s more, including a 1,700 square foot tented kiosk ?Seinfeld? compound, but I find the endeavor too tacky to waste additional pixels. Suffice it to say, if this is what the Seinfeld camp considers target-marketing, Gates, et al, we?re smart to sever the association. The original Seinfeld series found absurd comedy in the banality of quotidian experience ? The Seinfeld Campus Tour is a garish sideshow.