That now-viral Microsoft Songsmith video, featuring the singing family, was indeed created by the company, a Microsoft spokesperson has confirmed to me this afternoon.
And yes, that's a MacBook Pro seen in the opening shot.
There has been an awful lot of talk on the Intertubes as to whether the video was genuine, in part due to the fact that it's bloody awful. But one thing's for sure: it's sure as hell got Songsmith some coverage.
The last Microsoft ad to cause this much controversy was the series involving Bill Gates and comedian Jerry Seinfeld. It wasn't exactly well-received, and neither too has this production.
Some YouTube comments are almost angry that they voluntarily watched a video for free that they could've switched off at any point: "OMG, please, somebody stop this reasearch!! It has to be like animal testing or something," says user alemarianrtv. Geoffgc adds that, "It's like a horrible car accident you can't look away from!"
User Rigmen is more confident, however: "Clearly bad on purpose."
The idea behind Songsmith is simple: sing any kind of tune into your PC's microphone, and the software generates appropriate backing music. The two are melded together to form a cohesive sound, and voila! You're now a musician.
To try out the software and perhaps create your own ad, head over to Microsoft Research and download a free trial.