Editorial: ‘Dead Space 2: Your Mom Hates This’ Ad Campaign

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.

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  • mooveefreek
    February 18, 2011 at 6:36 am

    I gotta hand it ya bub, ya hit the proverbial nail on the proverbial head.

    While I agree with some of the posters that the ad was a real hoot, I must say that as a whole it hurts the industry and people like me that enjoy playing these games. I hadn’t played video games for over fifteen years until one day while prepping a show for broadcast at the studio I worked, I came across an ad for “Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.” After mesmerizing myself by watching it at least ten times I called a colleague over and show him the ad. He said, “Yeah, Vice City, I’ve played it.” I aked him if the graphics actually looked like that. He replied, “Better than that.” The following week I got the PS2 and that game along with “Max Payne” and “Hitman.” I was HOOKED!! Man we had come a LONG way from Pong, Atari 2600, 5200, and Colecovision; all systems I’ve owned.

    Incidentally, your decription of the “parent” (instead of mom) described me exactly along with your analysis of your cousin’s dad as my wife preordered the game for my birthday.

    An ad like this, while actually satirical, just gives ammo for shmedericks like Hillary Clinton and Joe Lieberman to again hop on the bandwagon to put a ban to “SAVE THE CHILDREN!!!” Hey, these games are not made for children. They’re made for sick mother flowers like me that enjoy dismembering and disemboweling unwilling and unlucky transmorphs that attempt and/or succeed in using me as a porcelin god after some extra heavy comsumption. An ad like this makes it harder to tell them to have a big ol’ mug of STFU. Well, maybe not harder as we can can still tell them where to go and how to go about doing it, but I don’t want to hear any bitching while I’m executing a hooker that got my health bar up (heh) and taking her money after we rocked a car back and forth by sitting in opposite ends of the car and making noise.

    At least these games keep me home with my family. If they get banned I guess I could always spend my money more sensibly like hanging out with the guys at the bar.

  • Emily
    January 31, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    I think the campaign is brilliant. I laughed my butt off the first time I saw it and I have forwarded links to the videos to friends, posted it on facebook and everyone else thinks it’s funny too. The game absolutely kicks butt too by the way. Five years and 100 game launches from now I will remember this one.

  • Joe Bloc
    January 27, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    People who point fingers at this ad in horror are just as ridiculous as the moms in the ad.

  • Justinseans
    January 26, 2011 at 7:01 am

    Lmao great game

  • yhchan4
    January 26, 2011 at 12:46 am

    Your review is full of shit, there now you’re going to gain more popularity.

    Negative publicity is still publicity.

  • Yahoo
    January 25, 2011 at 11:41 pm

    C’mon it’s JUST A VIDEO GAME! You know whats more violent? Hunting with your dad, gutting a fish, skinning an animal, etc. It has no affect on minors, I’ve been playing video games since I was 5 years old, everything from Resident Evil from when I was like 9 years old to Gears of War now that I’m 20.

  • Virginia Shea
    January 25, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    I’m a fortysomething mom who saw the “your mom is gonna hate this” trailer while I was checking out the Web site for the Zumba fitness game. I *know* I’m not cool. I think the trailer is hilarious. Also, if my son asks me if he can buy the game, I can now tell him no without a qualm. So for me, the ad succeeded on two levels: It made me laugh, and it gave me useful information about a game I don’t want in my house. Awesome!

  • yamamma
    January 25, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    i like the add. take a pill

  • Wax_e
    January 25, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    I think you’re over-analyzing. I’m 27 years old and I found the ad campaign to be funny and entertaining. It thus sparked my interest and was subsequently motivated to learn more about the game. Now I can’t wait to get my hands on it (after I finish the first one). So I’d say their campaign was pretty effective. These theories of yours that they either don’t understand their target market or that they’re targeting the under 18 crowd (or both) I think is, while not impossible, unlikely and that you might be blowing it a little out of proportion.

    So don’t overthink it, it’s just a commercial 😉

  • JayPrev
    January 25, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    I agree with you that the ads are irresponsible and that they’re probably detrimental to the image of the video-gaming community as a whole. However, that doesn’t mean that they won’t sell the game. I think the advertisers have done their research and realize that, sad as it is, the target audience here is teenage males. Because it’s marketed online and in media with mostly teenage male demographics, most moms aren’t going to be seeing the ads to be affected negatively by them.
    I was a teenage male only a few years ago, and I can tell you that neither myself nor my friends were in any shortage of M-rated video games. I also have 13-year-old cousin who’s dying to get Dead Space 2, and cites the ads specifically as the reason. He’s actually the reason I was led to Google this article.

  • Trenton_hunt
    January 25, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    I totally agree. Though the ad campaign is HILARIOUS, the suggestion that you have a job and your own car but will still purchase a game based off of how repulsed your mom would be – are we being called some sort of man-child or women child, even? (I thought this game was for Mature people) Arguably worse, as you too suggested, is that this would be targeted towards an audience, still dead-set on ticking off their mother’s.

  • Bluntmasterflash
    January 25, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    I thought the Ad campaign was great! I’m tired of everything being so watered down these days. It’s not a crime to have a set of balls yet, is it?

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  • sanzaki
    January 24, 2011 at 11:47 pm

    i like the ad campaign. it edgy, and has a definite message.

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