Microsoft has really outdone itself this time, said Rob Pegoraro in The Washington Post. Sure, it’s released its share of “quirky marketing messages” before, but its new ad promoting Windows 7 launch parties is “a special sort of odd.” Two minutes into the video, “I could only hold my head in my hands, cringing and saying, ‘No, no, no, this can’t possibly be real!’ before giggling helplessly.” Apparently, that was a common reaction (watch the video).

On the bright side, said Sarah Liss in Canada’s CBC, this “excruciatingly awkward” video’s cast of four “semi-diverse” actors “who’d never choose to hang out by choice in real life” get to join Ron Popeil in the pantheon of “the finest infomercials.” And hey, maybe the folks at Microsoft are “working a meta-media angle in the hopes of beating the creators of Apple’s deadpan Mac vs. PC ads at their own game.”

There has probably never been “a more vibrant and tangible demonstration of the difference between Apple and Microsoft,” said Mac software developer Cabel Sasser in his Blog LOL. But while I was scratching my head over the video, I realized it would be “a lot more fun when you imagine these guys are helping you plan a ... slightly different party” (watch remix of the Widows 7 launch video).

Sure, the Windows 7 launch party ad is “appalling,” but it’s also funny, said Kevin McLaughlin in ChannelWeb. And even if it has gone “viral for all the wrong reasons,” it’s still keeping Windows 7 in the news. Besides, after the “bad memories of Vista,” Windows 7 has been “a largely positive experience for Microsoft.” It deserves a little “comic relief.”