If you create something so bad that it goes viral, is it a public relations disaster or a video marketing triumph?
That's the question that journalists and bloggers are asking after watching HostingYourParty, which tells you how to host a Microsoft Windows 7 House Party.
Microsoft is putting a Tupperware-style twist on the upcoming Windows 7 rollout -- launching a new initiative to encourage thousands of employees, partners and technology enthusiasts to throw parties in their homes and communities to demonstrate and help spread the word about its new operating system.
People accepted as official launch party hosts will get their own copy of Windows 7 Ultimate Edition, and a chance to win a computer. But unlike the Tupperware model, there will be no literal selling. These parties are more about generating word-of-mouth buzz.
To promote this idea, Microsoft has uploaded a video to YouTube. Some journalists and bloggers think it is a public relations disaster.
Cindy Perman of CNBC writes, "You just knew that once they put the Microsoft geeks in charge of the "party," that it wouldn't be a 10-kegger and before long, we'd all be putting lampshades over our heads."
Ian Douglas, a tech blogger for the Daily Telegraph in London, writes, "I'm beginning to think that no one involved with Microsoft's advertising has ever left the house or spoken to a real person."
And James Lileks of The Bleat writes, "If Microsoft had been put in charge of marketing sex, the human race would have ended long ago, because no one would be caught dead doing something that uncool."
Now, you may be tempted to watch this 6-minute, 14-second video yourself -- to jump to your own conclusion. But, I warn you -- only serious geeks like me will watch beyond the first minute.
Now, if Microsoft really wanted to show people how to hold a Windows 7 Launch Party, they might have created a remix of the 1950s educational video below about what, in fact, makes a "good" party.
Not all of the reaction to Microsoft's Windows 7 House Party has been negative. Some of it can be charitably described as "mixed."
David Meerman Scott of Web Ink Now, asks, "Is this Microsoft Windows 7 House Party thing real? Or is it an incredibly wonderful and clever spoof on a 50s educational video that is so well done as to have fooled most observers who seem to think it is legit?"
Janice L. Brown of The Fussy Marketer also asks, "Hmm, if something goes viral because it's so bad, does that still count as achieving the marketing goals?"
Nevertheless, Lieutenant Columbo, if he were blogging these days, would ask just one more thing: "Why did Microsoft disable ratings and adding comments on HostingYourParty?"
Is this something you'd do if you were hoping for a video marketing triumph?
Inquiring minds want to know.