Microsoft Pulls Out Of Family Guy Sponsorship... Gets Half The Benefit For None Of The Money?

from the did-they-just-pull-one-over-on-Seth-Macfarlane? dept

In the past couple weeks a few folks had sent in various versions of the plan by Microsoft to sponsor an entire episode of the show Family Guy that would involve somehow weaving Microsoft Windows 7 into the story. While some found the whole concept to be "the end of the world," that was pure nonsense. It was a perfect example of how advertising is content, and content is advertising. If the fear was that the episode would suck, well, then it wouldn't act as a very good commercial for Microsoft, then, would it? If the fear was that the episode would be good, then what was the problem?

Either way... it appears that the whole thing is now dead. Reports are coming out that Microsoft has bailed out on the project, claiming that "the content was not a fit with the Windows brand." My first reaction to this was that whoever approved the deal in the first place must not watch Family Guy very much, because the whole show is based on "not being a fit" with pretty much anything.

But the more I thought about it, the more I wonder if Microsoft just pulled a fast one on Fox and everyone else. It's now received a ton of attention for the whole project... and doesn't have to pay Fox any money. Perhaps Microsoft just out-Foxed Fox.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Rose M. Welch (profile), Oct 26th, 2009 @ 5:04pm

    I agree. They got their publicity burst and now they're happy, with no money paid out and no apologies after the show airs and people are offended by some portion of it...

    On one hand, I'm mad on behalf of Family Guy. On the other hand, I'm happy with pretty much anything that annoys Rupert Murdock. Hmm...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    LumpyDog (profile), Oct 26th, 2009 @ 5:39pm

    I doubt MS got out of it without having to pay anything. Those type of partnerships don't happen without some sort of upfront financial commitment. It's entirely possible MS will stay have to pay the entire agreed-upon cost, given how close the episode/ad (episad?) was to airing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    anonymous, Oct 26th, 2009 @ 5:43pm

    Just because MS bailed doesn't mean it didn't cost them. I can't imagine Fox producing the show without some contractual obligation from MS, involving scratch.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Oct 26th, 2009 @ 5:47pm

    Heh. The funny thing is that Microsoft's association with Family Guy didn't besmirch Microsoft in my eyes. It besmirched Family Guy.

    "If the fear was that the episode would suck, well, then it wouldn't act as a very good commercial for Microsoft, then, would it?. If the fear was that the episode would be good, then what was the problem?"

    I think the fear was that the episode would be effective advertising, not that it would suck or be good as entertainment. There are a lot of people who view Microsoft's continued domination of the software business as a very bad thing for the software business.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Oct 26th, 2009 @ 5:50pm

    I smell...

    ...a general ripping of Microsoft in an upcoming episode of Family Guy...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Lucretious, Oct 26th, 2009 @ 6:02pm

    I'm still holding out for a team up of MS and Metalocalypse/Dethklok.

    "DO YOU LIKE....WINDOWS?"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Stewie, Oct 26th, 2009 @ 6:10pm

    "Perhaps Microsoft just out-Foxed Fox"

    Apparently it is quite easy to do

    Limbaugh falls for Obama thesis hoax - but is in no Rush to apologize
    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/2009/10/25/2009-10-25_limbaugh_falls_for_obama_t hesis_hoax__but_is_in_no_rush_to_apologize.html

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    icon
    minijedimaster (profile), Oct 26th, 2009 @ 6:27pm

    Re:

    What does Rush reporting satire on Obama have to do with Microsoft and Fox? WTH are you talking about?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2009 @ 6:53pm

    Re: Re:

    small minds ...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Weasley Misfit, Oct 26th, 2009 @ 7:16pm

    Family Guy

    I just can't see Family Guy selling out. I can imagine the problem developed when MS did not see the humor in what they were doing. I can conjure up images of Family Guy making fun of Microsoft for free.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    AC, Oct 26th, 2009 @ 7:36pm

    Re: I smell...

    I'm with you Mr. Helmet.

    Seth MacFarlane is going to make Microsoft wish they never heard of Family Guy. If Microsoft has any thoughts that Vista made them a laughingstock, wait until the Family Guy Microsoft lampoon episode.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Cartman, Oct 26th, 2009 @ 7:52pm

    "If you ever compare me to Family Guy I'll Kill you where you stand."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Earth eternal, Oct 26th, 2009 @ 8:00pm

    Earth eternal gold

    I'm still holding out for a team up of MS and Metalocalypse.
    I think so.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Gordon, Oct 26th, 2009 @ 8:10pm

    Re: I smell...

    I'm with you on this one Helmet.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    icon
    Mikael (profile), Oct 26th, 2009 @ 9:08pm

    big MStake

    I find it funny that they pulled out of a deal with a show who could've gotten them business with a key demographic. I'm thinking the same thing as "Weasley Misfit" with how they probably didn't see any humor in what Family Guy was going to do. To restate Mike's point, whoever made the deal probably just looked at the demographics and ratings for Family Guy and had probably never even seen the show. I was honesly surprised that MS would do a show with Family Guy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2009 @ 11:26pm

    On one hand, I'm mad on behalf of Family Guy. On the other hand, I'm happy with pretty much anything that annoys Rupert Murdock. Hmm...

    I know. Alternative thought has been said to cause intelligence. That would be horibal so horibles. I go
    watch MSNBC/CNN then jump off bridge.....partian hack.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    icon
    R. Miles (profile), Oct 27th, 2009 @ 3:34am

    The Fox returns to the henhouse.

    Perhaps Microsoft just out-Foxed Fox.
    Anyone here think Seth will take this lying down?

    Heh. If Seth gets pissed, he's going to take it out through Family Guy.

    Instead of pushing a positive note for Windows 7, I can see an episode clearly showing Peter getting frustrated at "Windows Heaven" and ranting for 10 minutes why the operating system sucks.

    That is, before Stewie comes along and uses the PC to try to kill Lois.

    The episode will air a week before the holiday break.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    DS, Oct 27th, 2009 @ 4:01am

    Re: Re: I smell...

    I already wish I've never heard of Family Guy....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    DS, Oct 27th, 2009 @ 4:04am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Small Minds, as in only the evil conservatives blow things out of proportion, and our liberal overlords are the best thing since sliced bread?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    icon
    senshikaze (profile), Oct 27th, 2009 @ 4:34am

    my question is this:
    how is an episode of family guy going to be funny when it centers on an OS? any OS? That sounds like an infomercial to me, not a entertaining thirty minutes. Why don't I just go watch thirty minutes of commercials instead?
    With this I get one long commercial with commercial breaks! So much better.
    This was a retarded idea all around.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Bored_On_Break, Oct 27th, 2009 @ 6:14am

    Re: Senshi Kaze

    It is a pretty old idea actually. If you ever get a chance to see an old show from the fourties and fifties, you can see that this kind of advertising inside of a show was pretty common back then. There usually wasn't much of an effect on the quality of writing on those shows either.

    There is a modern version of it with the Degree deoderant sponsership of (part of) the third season of the Scifi channel show Eureka. Though I do have to admit that it was rather heavy handed and unsubtle as an ad campaign.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    icon
    ChrisB (profile), Oct 27th, 2009 @ 6:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Political parties are just there to distract you from your government spending your, your kids, your grand-kids money to bail out businesses. But, by all means, keep focusing on what is important.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Xanius, Oct 27th, 2009 @ 7:53am

    Not Family Guy

    MS didn't pull out on the Family Guy episode.
    They pulled out of the Seth and Alex's Almost Live Comedy Show.

    There's a difference and it should be noted. This article is a lot more detailed on the situation.

    http://www.thewrap.com/ind-column/system-error-microsoft-pulls-out-family-guy-special- 9194

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    icon
    BullJustin (profile), Oct 27th, 2009 @ 8:33am

    Re: I smell...

    And maybe Apple will sponsor it!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    PushForth, Oct 27th, 2009 @ 10:38am

    Your story is wrong

    It wasn't a "family guy episode". It was the "family guy presents seth and alexs almost live comedy show".

    Content was written to include Windows 7... aparently it is now being re-written and re-recorded in some parts.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    icon
    Jordan (profile), Oct 27th, 2009 @ 3:13pm

    Famly Guy Impression

    Peter: It's like that time I invented Windows 7... You guys should totally bring that paperclip back.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This