Take a bunch of women in their late forties to mid-fifties and show them graphic images of violence and mutilation from the upcoming Dead Space 2 (which comes out tomorrow, January 25th) and record their reactions ranging from utter terror to complete revulsion. Then make sure to tell people just how violent your game is over some not so violent in game videos. Slap a “M for Mature” tag on it and there you have your ad campaign with the tag line, “Your Mom Hates This.”
Give me a break. There are so many problems with this campaign that is insulting to the gaming community as well as general consumers. Let’s break this down in a logical manner, even though obviously the advertising agency didn’t.
Dead Space 2 is a rated M game, meaning it should only be targeting players over the age of 18. But, the message of “Your mom hates this” is something that marketers would gear towards a younger self righteous and rebellious person in their early teens. By the age of 18, most people have evolved in to at least somewhat freethinking individuals who make decisions based more on personal preference than just trying to do something to tick their mom off.
This means one of two things (or possible both). The first is that the marketing agency behind this game is targeting people under the recommended 18 year old rating which would not only be socially irresponsible but also fiscally irresponsible since there will soon be congressional hearings about violence in video games and the effects it has on minors in the very near future. Giving anti-gaming advocates more ammunition will hurt the gaming industry as a whole.
The other option is that these marketers really don’t understand their target market. This seems the most likely as the “anti-mom” rebellious message isn’t something that rings true to the game’s target demographic of mature players. In the ad, they also feel the need to point out just how violent the title is as well. Over the top violence isn’t something that the vast majority of mature players want. Sales numbers have proven this with titles such as Halo, Call of Duty or any of the Mario franchise. Story and gameplay are what have driven these to record success. Sure, in Call of Duty you are in the middle of a warzone but the deaths are treated in a mature and responsible manner. You don’t see a man bleeding out with guts falling out of his stomach on the battlefield. He will just fall over dead. The same goes for Halo where a headshot on an alien doesn’t result in a gore filled explosion.
Mothers in general should be offended by this ad as well. Whether or not they know it, the ad is subversively stating, “Your mom hates this… because she isn’t cool.” While yes, there are some close minded moms out there who instantly shun everything new, popular and fun because of old school upbringing and “good old fashioned family values”, this isn’t the norm anymore. Most moms now grew up in the seventies and eighties, experiencing everything from Woodstock and Studio 54 to Alien and Friday the 13th. A lot of kids may not realize it but their parents did see and do some pretty cool things back in their day. These are the parents who may either be playing games like this now or at least have no problem with their mature offspring getting their hands on it.
Let’s be clear. I’m not saying all parents should be okay with their kids playing this game. It is a mature and violent title as the first Dead Space has shown us. This isn’t something I’d even consider playing or discussing around my six year old cousin. And as a parent, it is his mother’s and father’s responsibilities to protect him from the imagery in the game he wouldn’t yet be able to wrap his head around and understand the value of. On the same token, his father is also the one who likely has Dead Space 2 on his wish list and his mother is the one who will be buying it for the father’s birthday.
If you don’t believe us, take a look at the campaign commercial below or check out their website at www.yourmomhatesthis.com. Take a close look at the commercial and really think about the messages being given off. Make sure to comment and give us your feedback as well.