When people think of Microsoft, they usually don't think of comedy. Indeed, when people think of Microsoft, they think of a giant, ten-mile-long, black spaceship hovering over various planets, preparing to destroy them whole, scavenging the blasted pieces for precious fuel. Or they think of their Dell monitor freezing for 90 minutes at a clip.
Well, Microsoft had a plan to counter this brand image. They were going to be hip, and fun, and with it, just like those pesky Apple kids. And their opening salvo was to be this campaign, a series of “Family Guy” shorts using Windows 7.
Yes, “Family Guy”! The show for people who think everything’s funny! These shorts were to be embedded into Seth McFarlane’s upcoming FOX special, "Family Guy Presents: Seth & Alex's Almost Live Comedy Show." I saw fifty ads for this over the weekend, and each promo made me want to watch it even less.
But Microsoft has found there is a danger to associating yourself with the hip comedy crowd. Turns out, “Family Guy” sometimes offends people by talking about offensive stuff! Like deaf people! And feminine hygiene! Oh, Tampax. Will you ever cease to be a wellspring of hearty guffaws?
Thus, Microsoft has decided to pull its support of the special. According to 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.
You can view the aborted promo skits right here, and they’re every bit as hilarious as you would expect a mashup of “Family Guy” and Microsoft branding to be.
It’s a sign of how delightfully out of touch Microsoft can be that the company was caught off guard by the offensive humor contained in “Family Guy,” a series that has existed FOR A FREAKIN’ DECADE. It’s not as if “Family Guy” just became offensive, either. Offending people (and using flashbacks every seven seconds) is what they’ve always done. Join us next week, when Microsoft execs drop Master P as a spokesman after hearing his music for the first time.
Drew Magary is a writer for Deadspin.com and the author of Men with Balls: the Professional Athlete’s Handbook. He’s also worked in the ad industry for over ten years.