Microsoft's next operating system, Windows 7, is available to the public Oct. 22. So why not host an awkward launch party for a perfectly diverse group of your friends? Microsoft made an unbearable video tutorial to get you going.
Clearly meant to have a lively, "fun" feel, the painful video is so over-the-top bad we thought it first it must be a hoax. But Microsoft's in-house blogger has been touting these events, which are being organized by an apparently well-established marketing company that specializes in getting people to shill products to their friends at sketchy "house parties." Said marketing company owns the YouTube channel where this video appeared.
Microsoft has a track record of tone deaf commercials, but this marketing video somehow hits a new low. Maybe it's the way there's an undercurrent of tension and seething disdain even among the hired professional actors, as in this scene, about three minutes into the video:
Middle-aged white lady: I led an overview of some of my favorite Windows 7 features... It took, like, 10 minutes [approving murmurs]... It was totally, informal, like, everyone just kind of crowded around the computer in the kitchen [hearty laughter].
...After my overview, I went straight to an activity.
Older white lady: Oh, you went straight to the activity? I let everyone fool around with "Snap" [a Windows 7 feature] for a little while! [Uproarious laughter.]
Young black man: Me too! I did the same!
Middle aged white lady: I love Snap!
Older white lady: And then we started an activity maybe 30 minutes later.
Middle-aged white lady: Well, either way works, right? You figure out what your guests want, and play it by ear. In any event, we each did an activity, or two.
Angry party-pooper geek guy (white): Uh I did three activities. Ya.
Middle-aged white lady: Oooooh.
Young black man: Well, excuse me. [Snickering laughter.]
Middle-aged white lady: That's great! [Laughter] The activities each have you talk for a minute or so, and then...
Angry party-pooper geek guy (white): [Frowns, angrily slams down drink, walks over to get more food and stew in silent rage.]
Or maybe it's the way the video undercuts the very product it purports to be touting, by emphasizing the you should actually install Microsoft's operating system at least 48 hours before your... uh, install party. As in this scene:
Angry party-pooper geek guy (white): Of course the first thing you want to do is install Windows 7, right? [Boisterous, awkward laughter.] Now make sure you do that a couple of days in advance of the party. [Laughter silenced.] Call customer service if you have any questions. [Emphatically, this time, waving arms:] Got to play with Windows 7 before the party.
True. Nothing scotches an awesome Windows 7 party like catastrophic data loss, the Blue Screen of Death and impotent cursing. Person-to-person marketing might work for fun products like cosmetics, or cheap inoffensive gear like Tupperware. But operating system installs? Not fun, not trivial, and not the sort of thing that's going to liven up your kitchen. Device drivers? Crashes? Partitioning? Pass the tequila.