This is kind of amazing to me. Microsoft made a deal with Fox to create a special “live” version of Family Guy that would air in prime time, hosted by the creators of the show, Seth MacFarlane and Alex Borstein. Consisting of typical Family Guy material, the special was to be part of Microsoft’s Windows 7 rollout, weaving highlights of Windows 7 in amongst the hilarity.
I can only imagine the shock and dismay on the Microsoft Exec’s faces when someone suggested that they actually watch a bit of Family Guy, just to make sure they were all on board with this hip thing the kids are all into. Hah!!!
According to 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 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.”
Um, I suspect what really happened was that the lower level marketing folks love the show and thought it would give Windows 7 a cool, hard edge. But then mom and dad found out what the show is really about when execs attended a screening and were, to put it mildly, dismayed by what they saw: “typical ‘Family Guy’-style jokes, including riffs on deaf people, the Holocaust, feminine hygiene and incest.”
An amazing gaffe. The show will go on, and I suspect there is a lot of scrambling right now to find another sponsor less worried about offending people and more interested in that huge ‘Family Guy’ audience.
Here’s the Variety article that lays this all out.