REDMOND, Wash., and LOS ANGELES — Oct. 13, 2009 — Today, 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.
About Fox One
FOX ONE, formed in 2007, is a sales unit of Fox Entertainment Group. It develops and implements strategic integrated marketing opportunities and solutions crossing the full range of News Corp.’s global assets and a variety of media platforms, including broadcast, cable, digital, filmed entertainment, print and international.
About Seth MacFarlane
One of the youngest people ever to create a television series, Seth MacFarlane is the creator/executive producer/voice actor on FAMILY GUY, AMERICAN DAD and THE CLEVELAND SHOW. In 2009, FAMILY GUY received an Emmy nomination making it the second animated series ever to be nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series. Previously, FAMILY GUY garnered three nominations for Outstanding Animated Series.
About Fox Broadcasting Company
Fox Broadcasting Company (FOX) is a unit of News Corporation and the leading broadcast television network among Adults 18-49. FOX finished the 2008-2009 season at No. 1 for the fifth consecutive year — a feat that hasn’t been achieved since the mid-1990s — while continuing to dominate all network competition in the more targeted Adults 18-34 and Teen demographics. FOX airs 15 hours of primetime programming a week as well as late-night entertainment programming, major sports and Sunday morning news.
About Fox Licensing and Merchandising
A recognized industry leader, Twentieth Century Fox Licensing and Merchandising licenses and markets properties worldwide on behalf of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Twentieth Television and Fox Broadcasting Company, as well as third party lines. The division is aligned with Twentieth Century Fox Television, one of the top suppliers of primetime entertainment programming to the broadcast networks.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
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