As you may recall, Microsoft recently signed a lucrative sponsorship deal with FOX and Seth MacFarlane to have Windows 7 jokes written into an upcoming Family Guy special called Family Guy Presents: Seth and Alex’s Almost Live Comedy Show. Sounds so funny! Hahaha I am laughing already! And everything was going great until the people from Microsoft actually WATCHED an episode of Family Guy. From Variety:
Microsoft execs attended the special’s taping Oct. 16. The program included MacFarlane and Alex Borstein — the voice of “Family Guy” matriarch Lois — pitching Windows 7.
For most of the special, however, MacFarlane and Borstein made typical “Family Guy”-style jokes, including riffs on deaf people, the Holocaust, feminine hygiene and incest.
Such material was apparently a bit much for Microsoft.
“If only Windows 7 had been around during World War II, it would have been much easier for the Nazis to efficiently organize the Jews for extermination.” That was probably one of the jokes. “Blind people hate Windows 7 because they can’t see computer screens.” Good one. Now, Microsoft has pulled out of the special, issuing this statement:
“We initially chose to participate in the Seth and Alex variety show based on the audience composition and creative humor of ‘Family Guy,’ but after reviewing an early version of the variety show, it became clear that the content was not a fit with the Windows brand,” said a Microsoft spokeswoman. “We continue to have a good partnership with Fox, Seth MacFarlane and Alex Borstein and are working with them in other areas. We continue to believe in the value of brand integrations and partnerships between brands, media companies and talent.”
Wait a second. Audience composition, sure. Lots of people watch that show, especially young people with discretionary computer-operating-system income. But “creative humor”? Come on, Microson! They took an old episode and just wedged hackneyed Windows 7 jokes into it, how creative can their humor really be?
Ugh. They didn’t even change the structure of the joke! (Familiar.) How creative.
I am glad, though, that this incident didn’t shake Microsoft’s belief in the value of brand integrations and partnerships between brands, media companies and talent. PHEW. It would be a real shame if they started thinking that brand saturation had no place in the “creative” (their word) production of cultural content. And that’s fresh. (Thanks for the tip, Louis, Matthew, and Joe.)