Business, Computers, Entertainment, Morality & Ethics, News, Software, Technology, Television

Microsoft leaves Family Guy high and dry

Microsoft signed up to be the exclusive integrated sponsor of the upcoming “Family Guy Presents: Seth & Alex’s Almost Live Comedy Show” special in which Windows 7 would be pitched directly in the show rather than through advertising spots. Once they viewed the show, however, they decided to pull out, citing that “the content was not a fit with the Windows 7 brand.”

No, really?

I don’t have a business degree from a fancy school and I could have told them that.

The thing is… you don’t advertise on a show like Family Guy because its content compliments your brand identity unless you happen to be a supporter of Proposition 8 or MFX Media.

You advertise on the show because you want to get the word out to the ever-desirable 18-25 male demographic who loyally watches a 3-time Primetime Emmy Award-winning show that’s been hailed by The New York Times as having “an outrageously satirical family” with “plenty of comic possibilities and parodies” and described by The Associated Press by way of The Seattle Times as a “breathtakingly smart… blend of the ingenious with the raw.”

Apparently, someone in Microsoft’s marketing department didn’t do their research and actually watch an episode of the show to see first hand the type of deliciously crude humor that makes the show so popular. What’s more, nobody else in the company spoke up about the sponsorship being a bad business decision (probably because everyone realizes how smart a business decision it is to advertise on such a hit show) such that it took a viewing of the taping of the special to get the marketing department to pull the plug on the deal.

The problem is that this leaves Seth McFarlane and crew to figure out what to do about all the mentions of Window 7 that have already been integrated into the program. Microsoft didn’t decide to renege on their deal until after they had seen the essentially finished television product, and now Fuzzy Door Productions (McFarlane’s production company) and Fox have to clean up the mess.

This is a, for lack of a better term, dick move by Microsoft. I don’t criticize them because they don’t want to associate with Family Guy’s style of comedy. It’s not for everyone and it’s understandable that a major corporation like Microsoft may be wary of how such an association would be perceived by the more conservative members of our society. However, they should come to this realization before they signed the sponsorship deal or at least before McFarlane and friends went through the trouble of actually finishing the program.

Microsoft has to be thanking their lucky stars that most of the fans of the show probably haven’t heard about this development, although one has to wonder how hard it would be for those fans to figure out what happened when the special airs on November 8 with all those strange, out-of-place mentions for Windows 7.

Source: Reuters

Business, Food

Putting lipstick on a Whopper…

Burger King recently announced an effort to renovate its 12,000+ locations worldwide using a new restaurant design they call “20/20” – which includes features like rotating red flame chandeliers, television-screen menus and metal-and-brick walls – in order to better compete with fast casual chains like Starbucks and Panera.

The idea is that if the restaurants now look more “sit-down” than “drive-through,” they’ll make a better impression on diners, who view Chipotle, Cosi and the like as “better than fast food.”

The flaw in this strategy is the failure to realize that the reason the fast casual demographic eats at those restaurants is because the food there actually is “better than fast food,” even if only by a margin.

1,000+ calories aside, a chicken burrito from Chipotle is better for you calorie-for-calorie than a double cheeseburger or an original chicken sandwich. The key is in the ingredients – for example, the fresh, free range, hormone-free chicken that Chipotle uses and the artisan bread served at Panera – and not in the decor.

I love fast food a lot more than I should so these kinds of changes are going to make my personal dining experience more enjoyable and comfortable, but they’re certainly not going to attract the crowd simply looking for a healthier alternative to the Whopper and the Big Mac.

And therein lies the challenge for Burger King corporate. Franchisees are required to update their restaurants every so often, and the company is trying to position “20/20” as the most attractive option, but it’s tough to justify to a small business owner trying to get by in this less-than-stellar economy that they should spend the $300,000 to $600,000 necessary to implement the upgrade when the potential for new business is so small.

The money Burger King invested coming up with this new design would have been better spent creating higher end menu items that better matched those of the companies they so desperately want to compete against. As those companies have proven, people are even willing to spend a little more to get a higher quality of food.

But “20/20?” Well, that’s just putting lipstick on a Whopper.

Source: Burger King revamp aims at higher-priced kin