Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Microsoft Bails Out of “Family Guy” Windows 7 Episode After Actually Watching “Family Guy”

barfyFamilyGuyRemember Microsoft’s plan to use “Family Guy,” Fox’s ribald, off-color cartoon sitcom, to promote Windows 7? No more, says Microsoft, which is pulling out of plans to sponsor a special episode of the show scheduled to run Nov. 8.

What happened? Apparently, Microsoft (MSFT) realized that “Family Guy” is a ribald, off-color sitcom–but only after showing up to the taping of “Family Guy Presents: Seth and Alex’s Almost Live Comedy Show.”

Variety says “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane and actor Alex Borstein did indeed promote Windows 7 during the Oct. 16 taping. Alas, “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.”

Whoda thunk?

Give Microsoft credit, though: At least the company figured this one out before the show actually aired–unlike the vomit ads it used to push Internet Explorer 8 last year. And, in defense of MacFarlane and Borstein, Google (GOOG) hasn’t seemed to run into any problems with the pact it struck with MacFarlane last year.

Microsoft’s backpedal, via Variety:

“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 spokesperson. “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.”

Here’s a representative sample of the show Microsoft was betting on: A clip that Hulu says is one of its users’ favorites. Warning! The following includes flatulence, some sex talk and some racial stereotyping. No mention of Microsoft products, though.


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work