It's hard to say if the commercials where a failure or a success without Microsoft coming out and mentioning their intent.
(Yes, I *do* have a degree in advertising laying around somewhere at the house)
It's really dependent on their goal. If it was a product campaign, I would say it failed mightily. However, as a campaign to raise either brand awareness or corporate awareness they very likely hit their targets. Why? Because they've been talking about the ads on the radio when I drive in to work in the morning. We're discussing it here, etc.
I think Microsoft may be in the early stages of trying to "reposition" themselves in the public eye. Sometimes it works, sometimes it fails horribly. Either way, it usually is an interesting process to observe.