But that’s not all: The story of that cheesy Steve Ballmer Windows video

While it's true that the cheesy Steve Ballmer Windows video had bad music, bad hair, and bad acting, it's also true that all that cheese was intentional.

That video was produced for and shown at the Company Meeting, back when a mainstay of the Company Meeting was spoofs of popular television advertisements—what today would be called "virally popular"—with Bill Gates and other senior executives taking the starring roles. The "Crazy Steve" video was a spoof of late-night television advertisements, the most direct influence being the popular-at-the-time Crazy Eddie commercials.

So enjoy the "Crazy Steve" video, but don't fool yourself into thinking this was a real commercial.

Bonus commercial chatter: I don't know the story behind the commercial produced by crack-smoking monkeys. It was shot in one of the Microsoft old-campus buildings, but I don't recognize any of the actors. This leaves open the horrific possibility that the advertisement was for real!

Extra bonus chatter: The original Windows XP commercial, featuring Madonna's Ray of Light, had to be abandoned less than two months before launch thanks to the events of September 11, 2001: A commercial featuring people flying was deemed to be in bad taste so soon after the event. I don't know how they did it, but the marketing department managed to put together a new ad campaign in less than two months. (This also explains why some online ads for Windows XP employed the song Ray of Light, even though the song had nothing to do with the new Windows XP ad campaign: They were leftovers which could be salvaged because they didn't depict flying.)

Too bad, because I liked the original campaign.

Double secret bonus chatter: Could this be proto-Kylie?

Update: an article which includes another story about the filming of the spoof commercial.

Comments (15)
  1. The "w-w-w-windows" lady went on to do ads for a local eyeware chain (think LensCrafters).  Every time it went on my wife and I went "hey, it’s w-w-w-windows!".

    At the very end of the video the man she walks off with is Adrian King who was also the voice of "real networks".  I believe that Scott Oki is the person whose shakes her hand just before she walks off with Adrian.

    Several of the people in the lobby were Microsoft employees, many of them in human resources (the video was filmed in the human resources corridor).

    I wrote about that video when it first surfaced: http://blogs.msdn.com/larryosterman/archive/2007/01/29/nostalgia-waxes.aspx

  2. Seth Eliot says:

    The Script writers for the w-w-w-w–windows video (I guess these would be the crack-smoking monkeys) are listed as Tom Corddry  and Adrian King.  Larry already points out that Adrian "was the head of the OS division at the time.  He later left Microsoft with Rob Glaser to found Real Networks".  Tom apparently ran the team that created Encarta.

  3. Anonymous Coward says:

    Phew! I at least want Wa-wa-wa-windows to be real.

    That 95 ad was one of Weird Al’s victims by the way.

  4. Nick says:

    I particularly like this Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer remake: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PrwnJDQy0ic

    Original video is a Volkswagen commercial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_s5-R_JE4c

  5. damien says:

    So love the "yes you can" on the XP video! Quite ahead of its time ;-)

  6. "Brian Boy" (starring Brian Valentine) is my favorite movie of all time.  It’s even better than "Tommy Boy" on which it’s based.

  7. jon says:

    Does any have a link to the Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer matrix spoof?

  8. Adam Krebs says:

    Speaking of crack smoking monkeys… Any comments on the Windows 7 party videos? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cX4t5-YpHQ

  9. z.farkas@gmail.com says:


    There was a funny "matrix-like" video by MS as well, it was created in 2000 (shortly after releasing Win2000) and was shown in Hungary during the preparation for the "Competition 2000" competition. It was said by the MS employees that it would not be released for the "public".

    Ah, I can see "jon" also mentioned this video. So is it true that it was not for the public?

  10. Non-PC says:

    Any comments on the Windows 7 party videos?

    Yup, the token black guy looks out of place.

  11. Joe says:

    I prefer the Apple advert with the girl who’s clearly stoned.

    As for internal company type stuff – the Shell song is (unintentionally) funny beyond belief. It’s set to the tune of ‘We are the World’ and includes the lyrics "We have moved on, growing day by day/Sharing strengths, we practise what is best/We are all a part of Shell’s global family/Doing work aligned with everyone."

  12. photo shop says:

    Yup, the token black guy looks out of place.

    A little bit of photo shop usually solves that.


  13. Worf says:

    Funny enough, the only commercials about Windows XP I remember *were* those flying ones – I don’t remember the others, nor noticed that they disappeared after 9/11.

    I also remember the webcomic User Friendly spoofing that, and people on Slashdot threatening to "sue" because they couldn’t fly.

  14. Aaargh! says:

    "Funny enough, the only commercials about Windows XP I remember *were* those flying ones – I don’t remember the others, nor noticed that they disappeared after 9/11."

    Same here, maybe they only cancelled them in the US ?

  15. jon says:

    Apparently the MS Matrix Spoof was shown during comdex 2003. on youtube there is only the first 2:13, its missing another half.

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