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Microsoft drops Family Guy like a hot deaf guy joke

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Microsoft proved that one thing Windows 7 won't install is a sense of humour yesterday, by hastily pulling out of its sponsorship of a Family Guy/American Dad variety special.

The vendor announced two weeks ago that it would blow some of its Windows 7 marketing budget on "an upcoming television event devoted to the comedy of Seth MacFarlane, creator of Family Guy, American Dad and The Cleveland Show".

They promised "simplicity for viewers" with no ads or promos - just "unique Windows 7-branded programming that blends seamlessly with show content".

Well, just as some buyers are finding that installing the student edition of Windows 7 isn't exactly seamless, so Microsoft is discovering that comedy isn't always the kind of good clean fun it wants to associate itself with.

According to reports, Redmond marketeers sat in on the recording of the variety special. While Windows marketing messages were presumably seamlessly integrated into the schtick, so were jokes about deaf people, the Holocaust, feminine hygiene and incest.

While Microsoft was clearly reaching for a hip and edgy audience, they presumably meant the "check me out, I've got an extra shot in this latte and I'm wearing an Hawaiian shirt" kind of edgy.

Or as Microsoft told ABC, "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... We continue to believe in the value of brand integrations and partnerships between brands, media companies and talent."

Still, at least Microsoft doesn't walk away from the deal completely empty handed. It got to look kind of hip for, ooh, days. And presumably its student demographic will be too busy trying to get Windows 7 installed to notice it turned chicken (and not the fight-to-the-death-in-the-street kind of chicken either).

As for MacFarlane, he has arguably dodged the same cred bullet that has hit the likes of Mick Jagger and David Bowie. Or, according to the more established fans, not. And presumably he walks away with a kill fee. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

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