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'Family Guy' Leads Windows 7 Viral Push

Microsoft has recruited the Griffin-family characters from the popular TV show "Family Guy" in an effort to shore up its marketing push for new operating system Windows 7, which is launching today.

While such 'celebrity' endorsements are hardly new, this particular campaign represents a novel twist for online video campaigns. For starters it is not an ad, but a half-hour show, scheduled to run on Nov. 8 without traditional commercials. Instead, "Family Guy Presents: Seth & Alex's Almost Live Comedy Show," will feature pitches for Windows 7 embedded directly in the show itself.

This is not the only campaign planned for Windows 7 - a key product rollout for Microsoft, which is still smarting over the Vista operating system's perceived failings and a lawsuit over its marketing. A major campaign is getting under way today in six countries carrying the theme “I’m a PC and Windows 7 was my idea,” reports the New York Times.

The concept for the new campaign apparently plays off the fact that few consumers or businesses liked Vista. Essentially, "I'm a PC and Windows 7 was my idea" promotes Microsoft's use of consumer feedback in the new OS's development.

According to The Times, TV commercials, print ads, online banner ads, and outdoor posters are all being deployed to promote Windows 7, along with video clips on YouTube and windows.com – Microsoft's new online store. Accompanying the video clips are social media-styled games, such as a challenge to write a seven-word recap of a football game around which Windows 7 is advertised.

Family Guy Gets Buzz

So far, however, the Family Guy 30-minute clip appears to be gaining the most buzz of all Microsoft's initiatives – possibly setting the company up for a bit of a fall if the ad disappoints.

Preston Gralla, who blogs at ComputerWorld, saw a short preview of the ad and writes that it commits the worst cardinal sin of comedy: "It's just not funny."

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