Tim from Old Grandma Hardcore has a great new post that deconstructs Kevin Brown’s speech at the Focus on Gaming Advertising Summit. While reading it I was reminded of Guilded Lily’s post that she wrote back in March that summed up her own thoughts about advertising and what advertisements might look like in games that want to reach the female demographic.
One of my favorite parts about games, (or even in other genres, such as anime) is noticing the fake brands and stores—they enhance the atmosphere and provide little clues as to how the fictional world that I’m becoming immersed in is similar or different to our own. I don’t think that advertisements for Pot Belly’s or Sketchers would heighten the realism of a game; instead it’ll just remind me of my real life, which in turn would hamper the pleasure of escapism that comes with playing games.
Living in Chicago, the amount of advertising I take in during my morning commute is overwhelming. The first thing I see when I descend the staircase of the El are the vending machines that crowd around the turnstile. After I insert my fare card, I push the turnstile bars which are now clear: presently, there’s a slipped in ad for Geico. To find an empty place to wait for a train, I walk over numerous vinyl advertisement mats that now cover the concrete of the subway platform. The wall opposite from where I stand is also plastered in ads. After the train arrives and I step in, it’s impossible for me not to notice the ads that line the perimeter of the car. There are also ads placed in the areas where there are no windows. There are now commercials in the tunnels—what was once black spaces are now ads that work like flipbooks. After I reach my stop and navigate through another area of ad space, I climb the stairs and am greeted by billboards: typical billboards, billboards on the side of buildings, billboards that are stationed like stop signs. Buses, with their own set of ads pasted to them, pass by bus stops that encase ads instead of bus maps. This is just the first half hour being out of my apartment.
And what about sexist advertising? The ads that I encounter are for everything, but of course I notice the most objectifying: a naked woman sitting—she’s in the shape of a cognac bottle. An ad for lotion is centered on a pair of breasts. Another ad, this time for citrus vodka, features a woman being peeled like an orange. I’m not even going to write about the ads for make up, clothing and perfume. You know what I’m writing about: the idea that women are commodities, billboards in their own right. And that beauty and anything that is good and worthwhile is rich, white, blond, tan, thin, and straight. I’m oversaturated.
Yet as much as I don’t want advertising in games, I know all to well that it’s inevitable.