Oct 09

Windows 7 as the hit of the party

When I started this blog, I knew that one day I would be tempted by the Dark Side. I might feel the urge to mercilessly slam an easy target. I might be unable to resist the lure despite the knowledge that I’d feel dirty afterward.

I do have will power, I swear. But this is like putting a fresh hunk of gazelle in front of a starved lion. If you haven’t seen this YouTube Windows 7 House Party video yet, it’s worth the too-long time it takes. It’s entertaining in ways it was never intended. Plus, if you’re a creative person, it’s a primer on how to avoid jeopardizing your future.

Rather than talk about things like the one-from-every-demographic casting and creative-brief dialogue (damn, there I go), I’d like to discuss the idea of it. Because, to be honest, the planners should be first on the posse’s list. The thinking apparently went like this: “Prior to the launch date, let’s encourage people to have Tupperware parties, using Windows 7 instead of the 10-piece set of plastics. That way, each Windows 7 enthusiast will recruit and sell a whole group of customers. That’s leverage.” Only problem: it’s also an insult to our intelligence.

Even assuming that real people will be better actors than these guys, I imagine that reasonably intelligent and sociable people might find something better to do on a Friday night. To me, what’s missing from this plan is something that often gets overlooked when putting together creative briefs and/or trying to please the client: common sense. It doesn’t take great creative genius to see that this idea (and certainly the execution of it) will generate more ridicule than it does interest.

I’m sure there are people out there who will actually do this, and in fact you can find them easily enough by searching YouTube. But will this idea scale to any kind of significant numbers? Will a nation of nerds and socially desperate people rise to make this a worthwhile investment? If you were launching Windows 7, is this the way you’d use your time, money and creative resources?

I’d write a bit more, but I’m having some friends over to show them my new hot water heater.

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  • Ken,

    I would rather come to the water heater party!


  • I can’t believe I watched the whole thing.

  • just another example of how out of touch they are… i wonder if ANYONE in Redmond or at the agency that did this or at the studio that shot this or at the editors that put it all together… if any of them had ever heard of or (worse) gone into a room (at a party or gathering) where there was a group of people discussing not the latest WoW or Halo online forays, but the ins and outs of a new OS?

    excluding, of course, the socially doomed geek squad cluster in the den…

    a really bad idea, done really poorly from concept to casting to scripting to release…

  • I could not watch this all the way…
    God, what a wast of web time!!!

    I can’t believe I can’t get any work these days, and stuff like this gets produced…

  • Zita Segall Net0

    As Ken’s younger sister, I’m required by law to watch what he tells me to watch, so I had to view this whole video.
    I was amused that Blondie mentioned more than once that her party was informal. Maybe a formal, black-tie launch party might be a good idea!

    As to the “activities”… do any of them require stripping? Because that could be fun.

  • Norman

    I couldn’t bear to watch the whole thing. Made it through 3 minutes. As a non-advertising person, your comments are correct. Somebody along the way should have realized that this was the dumbest ad in history. To paraphrase Abe Lincoln, “conceived in ignorance.”

  • Andrew Tonkin

    I like how at about 1:01, the line “call customer service if you have any questions” is flown in awkwardly as we cut away from the speaker (is it even the same actor’s voice?) Obviously someone after the fact said, “But what if there’s a problem with the install as there is with xx% of our beta group? We gotta cover ourselves!”

    Also I’m glad we won’t be forced to do ALL the activities, that’s really nice of them.

  • as the OS isn’t ready to roll till the 22nd, i would guess that the blogs (including this one) will have different tales to tell around, oh say, the 25th; after all the install reports and stories start floating in…

    when MS introduced the new OS 2 (now 3 ) versions ago, there was the same media blitz and trailers and teasers, and then we started hearing the reports about how hard drives were wiped out, systems shut down, etc.

    after all this time, i hope they get closer to an event-less event…

  • ken segall


    You may well be right. In fact, just yesterday I read a reviewer’s report that seemed to be in conflict with Walt Mossberg’s positive slant in the WSJ, saying that boot time was actually longer than Vista’s. I’m just being my chirpy, optimistic self on Microsoft’s behalf. Innocent until proven guilty, you know…

  • Ilene Adams

    Wow…it took me a while to realize that this was supposed to be serious. I kept waiting for the punchline, and sadly, there was none. Tupperware party, now that is a great way to spend an evening.

  • sean

    since this is absolutely impossible to watch for even a full minute, how can you be sure that it doesn’t have any redeeming qualities later in the video? did you really force yourself to watch the whole thing (in which case you have way more commitment and free time than the avg. consumer)?

    please update your blog when the spoofs of this video start to show up on YouTube (not that they could be any more comical than this original)!

  • ken segall


    I am literally “almost guilty” of this crime and now must confess. While writing that post, I realized that I never did get through the whole thing. Hey, I’m only human. Then I realized I had to take one for the team, so I strapped myself to the chair and hit Play. It hurt!

  • Todd

    Couldn’t do it… couldn’t watch more than 2 minutes without feeling like there was no point and no real ending… it was like watching Body Break (do you get that in the US?).

    I had that “I’m embarrassed for you” feeling, directed at who ever is responsible.

  • ken segall


    Not sure why, but all my life I’ve gotten some kind of strange joy out of watching bad bands, bad comedians and yes, bad videos. I guess it has to do with the joy of knowing it wasn’t my fault. Maybe we should all share our “most embarrassing advertising moment” stories one day. (And no, I haven’t seen Body Break).

  • Zita Segall Neto

    There’s going to be a launch party at 11.30 PM this weekend in one of the big chain stores in Portugal. Not in individual homes like they want you to do in the US. For a small fee, I’ll attend and report back. Otherwise, I’m staying home and eating chocolate.

  • Josh Sklar
  • Peter

    I have a sneaky feeling that Microsoft ad dollars are EXTREMELY easy to earn. Hmmmm…

    PS – do NOT forget those Seinfeld spots. Case closed!

  • Peter

    By the way, here is the antidote for watching the original video. I guarantee instant relief for you and your friends:

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