Cool music-listening gal Mumbles 1 retweeted a news story about a social media campaign that was destined to fail while embarrassing an entire company.
This particular Hitman marketing campaign 2 was a Facebook message harassment tool with a minor photo-editing capability on the side mixed with a healthy dose of alternate reality. The branded product encouraged users to issue threats of hits to their Facebook friends because of a gender-specific negative stereotype. In one instance, one could choose the reason for the hit being because of a female friend’s “small tits”.
I’d love to think that the brain-dead, careless executive who approved a Facebook campaign like this is no longer employed at Square Enix Inc., but that’s more than likely not the case since they’ve retracted the app altogether based on user feedback—and hopefully someone at Square Enix waking the fuck up and coming to their senses.
In all seriousness, I’ve seen some pretty positive reviews of the game itself. The story (however bad it is) picks up with the player-protagonist searching for something or someone. The sandbox nature of assassinations and completing objectives seems pretty coherent and there’s even a Metal Gear Solid inspired difficulty ramping where the less impact you have with enemies and the less traces you leave behind, the better you rate in a performance review-style scoring system.
I was looking forward to eventually playing it on my Xbox once it had come down in price, but I don’t think I’ll give it that chance, now.
Companies like to experiment with social media because its a cheap way to get attention for whatever you’re promoting compared to traditional means. That is the easy bit to explain. The most important bit that some of these companies miss is that, early in the campaign’s life, execution and first impressions matter more than the reach any given scheme can achieve.
In my opinion, social media campaigns that include highly stylized apps that require some advance knowledge of the tone of the message are dangerous. campaigns to promote games should be directed at everyone who could possibly pick up and play the game within reason—this includes women with small tits.
It’s just too bad that mainstream video game marketers can’t get out of the habit of releasing apps or campaigns that are deep and engaging without involving some sort of boundary and crossing of the said boundary for shock value.
- Mumbles is a fun blogger / person to follow on Twitter. ↩
- rockpapershotgun.com: Hijinks! Square Enix Say: Threaten ‘Hits’ On Your Friends! (images from article) ↩