Microsoft Corp. and Fox One announced an ambitious, unique marketing collaboration that will showcase the best of Windows 7, the newest version of Microsoft's operating system that will be available in market on Oct. 22. The cornerstone of the effort is the exclusive Windows 7 sponsorship of an upcoming television event devoted to the comedy of Seth MacFarlane, creator of Family Guy, American Dad! and The Cleveland Show.
Taking the idea of "commercial-free" to the next level, the original FOX variety special Family Guy Presents: Seth & Alex's Almost Live Comedy Show, (working title) airing Sunday, Nov. 8, at 8:30 p.m. EST and PST and starring MacFarlane and his Family Guy co-star Alex Borstein, will deliver simplicity for viewers -- no commercial ad time, no network promotions and no commercial breaks -- and instead will feature unique Windows 7-branded programming that blends seamlessly with show content. In a network first, MacFarlane and Borstein have teamed with Windows and their agencies, Universal McCann and Crispin, Porter + Bogusky, to develop, write and produce the customized branded integrations that seek to bring the old "Texaco Star Theater"-style sponsorships into the 21st century. The half-hour special will highlight the comedy duo's subversive and unique humor with original animation, live-action performances of Family Guy's most memorable musical numbers, comedy sketches and surprise celebrity guests. That night, Fox turns the reins over to MacFarlane for an all-MacFarlane lineup as he also hosts all-new episodes of his signature animated series.
While the way people watch TV has evolved, their desire to be entertained, and marketers' need to deliver compelling content, hasn't changed. Microsoft and Fox are joining forces to showcase how the power and simplicity of Windows 7 can enhance the content FOX viewers enjoy most, whether it's comedy, drama, sports or reality programming on TV or on the Web.
"We're working with Fox on innovative brand integrations that will show how the power and simplicity of Windows 7 can enhance the content Fox viewers love," said Gayle Troberman, general manager of consumer engagement and advertising at Microsoft. "We have simplified the PC with Windows 7, and together with FOX, we're simplifying entertainment."
"We're thrilled to be joining forces with Windows 7 on such an exciting, highly collaborative marketing campaign featuring the very unique talents of Seth MacFarlane as he overhauls the old Hollywood tradition of the sponsored variety show by marrying Windows 7 messaging with content," said Jean Rossi, president of Fox One and executive vice president of Sales for Fox. "By partnering with 20th Century Fox Television, Fox Licensing and Merchandising, Fox Sports, FX, Fox Sports on MSN and Hulu, we have developed a complementary initiative that goes well beyond the screen with customized assets that connect consumers with Windows 7."
In addition to sponsorship of the variety show special, Microsoft and Fox Licensing and Merchandising are working together to reach more than 4.3 million college students in person on campuses across the country. The joint 12-week college tour gives students the chance to try Windows 7 for themselves and enjoy customized entertainment created by Fox Licensing and Merchandising such as outdoor movie nights hosted by Family Guy's Stewie and Brian, online videos, and other customized Family Guy content.
Microsoft and Fox One will roll out marketing collaboration efforts with a variety of Fox One properties including 20th Century Fox Television, FOX Sports, FX, Fox.com, Fox Sports on MSN and Hulu.