A Kick In The Family Jewels

P.C. stands for politically correct … after attending a taping of the show, which reportedly contained edgy humour, Microsoft bosses reneged on its sponsorship deal with Family Guy. Apparently,after seeing a recording of the show, the company stated, “the content was not a fit with the Windows brand”.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.  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…”

According to the American Psychological Association: ‘‘Children who watch a lot of TV are less aroused by violent scenes than are those who only watch a little; in other words, they’re less bothered by violence in general, and less likely to anything wrong with it. One example: in several studies, those who watched a violent program instead of a nonviolent one were slower to intervene or to call for help when, a little later, they saw younger children fighting or playing destructively….Children who watch the violent shows, even ‘just funny’ cartoons, were more likely to hit out at their playmates, argue, disobey class rules, leave tasks unfinished, and were less willing to wait for things than those who watched the nonviolent programs,’ says Aletha Huston, Ph.D., now at the University of Kansas.”

In a study reported by CNN in 2006:The Parents Television Council said it monitored more than 440 hours of programming geared toward young people and found 3,488 incidents of violence, an average of almost eight incidents an hour.The group, headed by L. Brent Bozell, said “there is more violence aimed directly at young children than at adults on television today.”

Perhaps, the main reason, is the precedent this would set to embed within and monopolize and control the content in a more direct way than previous, a transgressing of the line where the show morphs into  an infomercial with 60 second content breaks, flowing from a careful and manipulative narrative the narrative  that is anything but, the ease of installing and using their software. It does appear patently false that Microsoft pleaded unawares of the nature of the show,given their own understanding of media, and social media. Their goal is to protect and expand the value of their valuable inventory of patents.

.The Microsoft-sponsored variety show, whose working title is “Family Guy Presents: Seth & Alex’s Almost Live Comedy Show,”  …and is part of an all-Seth MacFarlane night on Fox. The software company wouldn’t elaborate on what exactly the Microsoft integrations would look like or possible scenarios in which Windows 7 could play a starring role, but said Crispin’s copywriter and art director on the Windows campaign were working closely with Mr. MacFarlane and Ms. Borstein.

“You’ll see us deeply integrated into the content … you’ll hear a lot about how Windows 7 can help you simplify your PC — it’s simple, fast and easy to use,” said Gayle Troberman, general manager of consumer engagement and advertising at Microsoft. She went on: “Think about metaphors and examples we might use, talking about how simple things are. We’ll be evoking the cast of ‘Family Guy’ in some interesting ways that integrate the product messages.” ( Abbey Klaasen, Advertising Age )

The above seems to imply that Microsoft was aware of the programming material and responsible, in part for its creation and integration within the structure of the show and that their pullout was based on belief that the concept would not wash with the public and the shows notoriety was incidental and served as pretext to ditch their participation. In fact, it may have been in Family Guy,s interest to sever the ties with Microsoft. Microsoft behavior does not seem consistent with past history:family3

Microsoft may find the Family Guy too off-color or off-center for sponsorship, but the company has previously exhibited  a double standard — it’s spent more than $1 million on ads for South Park, and it pays for ads on shows that feature drug dealing, violence, sex of all forms, and bathroom humor. The idea that an immense corporation like Microsoft has ”morals” is most appalling; they enjoy a monopoly on operating systems of close to 90% market share and are consistently hounded by anti-trust violations in America and abroad.They are a symbol of the capitalism version of corporate swine flu and other communicable diseases transmitted by corporations that infect humans..  Their corporate actions, in the interests of ”shareholder value” have been far more violent and destructive than any cartoon could even imagine.The buzz created with Family Guy may simply be Public relations and spin.


Philip Blond is an English Theologian, and has been responsible for a sudden and perceptible transformation in British politics and its reflection on economic and social policy through the championing of “communitarian conservatism”, or organic conservatism. Mr. Blond’s primary antagonist,” he writes ( Stephen MacLean), “is monopoly capitalism, in which the few (with the compliance of the State) own the means of production. His prescription is to share the capitalist means of wealth production as sketched in [writer-historian] Hilaire Belloc’s The Servile State, which took as its model the independent farms and artisan co-operatives of the late Middle Ages.” Belloc said there would be “no proletariat on one side, no monopolising capitalist on the other.”  ( Neil Reynolds, Globe and Mail ) There is a growing backlash against such centralized control,and disparities in income distribution and a host of other issues related to monetary policy , and corporations are increasingly sensitive to negative fallout in the viral age that is more deep rooted than mere populist venting of frustration.

”Microsoft, which spent $3.2 million last season buying commercials on Fox’s “Family Guy” (and an additional $1.4 million on reruns of the show that ran on TBS and Cartoon Network), really likes CBS’ “Two and a Half Men.” The company spent more than $4 million on it last season, according to TNS. Although it’s no “Family Guy,” the sitcom can get pretty racy. In one recent episode titled “Laxative Tester, Horse Inseminator,” there were jokes about condoms, teenage boys being aroused and the benefits to using a bidet. We’d quote some of the lines directly (and they were crude, but funny), but odds are they wouldn’t be a good fit with our editors.

Other shows Microsoft helped bankroll include AMC’s “Breaking Bad,” a violent drama about a teacher who becomes a crystal meth dealer after he learns he has cancer; FX’s “Nip/Tuck,” which usually has enough sex to make Hugh Hefner blush; and “Rescue Me,” which also loves its bathroom humor. Oh, and Microsoft likes Comedy Central’s “South Park,” where it dropped more than $1 million on commercials.” ( Los Angeles Times, Joe Flint )

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