Microsoft's new Seinfeld ad campaign proves you can't predict success. Here are five goofy ads that worked — plus the clip that probably sold Microsoft on Seinfeld. Above: A parody of Jacques Cousteau's undersea documentaries for Sun Microsystems.
Playing on an early meme about home computers, Alan Alda shows how an Atari will make your kid a better typist than you. Oh, and it plays games too. Apple flaunts its Y2K-proof products with a sad monologue from 2001's HAL 9000.
BlackBerry maker Research In Motion teaches you how to get the color you want from your I-can't-decide girlfriend. Sexist? Not as much as the talk about Sarah Palin at Whole Foods this morning.
A clever Web page ad for Apple that ties two ad spots on the page together. John Hodgman's PC guy undermines the ads a bit by making me feel sympathetic for him.
Seinfeld's pointless but funny Superman ad for American Express's product warranty feature was probably what convinced Microsoft he could do the same for Windows. If the writers of the Microsoft/Seinfeld ad had created a similarly out-of-character character for Bill Gates, it might've worked.