The NYTimes has an otherwise duhh account of Apple's recent advertising success, but among the mundanity is this little confirmation: the Seinfeld/Gates ad was among the worst their quoted media expert has ever tested.

Brand Keys, a market research company, did a direct comparison of Microsoft and Apple ads over the last two months. Aside from the obvious conclusions, Amy Shea, executive VP of Brand Keys, had this to say in reference to the fabled WTF-worthy Gates/Seinfeld clip:

On the other hand, Microsoft’s “Shoe Circus,” in which Mr. Seinfeld helped Mr. Gates buy shoes, failed miserably with consumers. After seeing the ad, both Apple and Microsoft users had a more negative perception of Microsoft in the areas of innovation, technology, trouble-free design, and warranty and pricing. “When you see an ad perform this poorly,” said Amy Shea, the executive vice president at Brand Keys who conducted the research, “you’ve got a real problem.”

Also of note is that Apple's ad budget continues to be huge, even in an economic climate where advertising is receiving a disparate proportion of budget cuts.

Why not give the ad another play there; depending on your proclivities, it will either be a fun morning laugh or that masochism-lite sensation of poking a mouth sore relentlessly. [NYTimes]

[BLam - I like the ads! Where's the third?!]