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This Week In Hilariously Ill-Advised Facebook Campaigns: Square-Enix vs. ZOO Weekly

Inside baseball: normally these two items would carry enough weight to be separate articles, but the timing is just too close for me to resist squeezing them together. That and the winter gloom has me almost completely sidelined from my usual routine. Bleh.

Thankfully, nothing cheers me up faster than an opportunity to mock major corporations and their gross irresponsibility with social media. I’ve also grown to hate said social media more and more these last few months, Facebook in particular. Protip: I’m more than just a buffer for your goddamned Farmville stats.

So really, there’s a lot for me to like about these two disasters. I get to be all punk rock and make fun of two big companies for their inane bullshit and Facebook for creating the atmosphere that allows the bullshit to exist. Double whammy.

First up to bat: Final Fantasy developer and sudden owner of everything, Square-Enix.

square enix hitman facebook

Quoth Rock, Paper, Shotgun:

Square have launched an advertising campaign for Hitman in which you can threaten people on Facebook using bullying terms, mocking people for their looks, and the size of their breasts. I murdered the puppy-faced Emily Madeupname because she’s cheating on her partner! That’s a reason it offered me. I threatened to kill someone on Facebook using this advert, telling Agent 47 to identify her by her small tits, and to kill her for cheating.

All glory to RPS for curating this debacle before Square-Enix (wisely) pulled the plug and apologized for it. Still, you have to wonder what the mindset is like at Square if such a headscratcher was allowed to exist in the first place.

Would this have happened if Square’s Japanese head office was paying the proper attention to their western branches, a situation akin to Sega of Japan vs. Sega of America in the 90s? Is this the unfortunate result of Square’s rapid-fire acquisition of foreign studios, perhaps too many to exert proper control over? Maybe outsourcing your marketing to external agencies is a bad idea and if you must do that, you should at least have some oversight on it?

Whatever the explanation, it’s fucking baffling that these things keep happening. Apparently no one learned anything from Sony’s disastrous PSP viral campaign or Tecmo’s creepy obsession with tits. Games still get a bad rap in a lot of circles and this really isn’t helping.

Speaking of creepy! Take us home, ZOO Weekly.

zoo weekly facebook

This one took months to get dragged offline like a screaming child on the first day of school, thus allowing plenty of time for it to spread it everywhere. Australia’s media watchdogs finally dealt the killing blow this week.

At first, the removal feels like a blessing considering how many human-shaped cockroaches it managed to attract. However, the action does get close to setting off my internal censorship alarm the more I think about it. Did this one really need to be nuked while stuff like Tecmo’s boob-shaped wall installations remain intact? Would this kerfuffle have happened at all if subject to another country’s regulations? Is the image itself actually less brazen in its misogyny than the comments it received? Would anyone even have noticed otherwise?

zoo weekly facebook comments
Cat pee and the internet. Once it’s in there, it’s in there.

The part that really gets me is the publisher’s attempted “editorial” defence. Quoth mUmBRELLA:

Zoo’s publisher ACP Magazines tried to claim that the Advertising Standards Board should not adjudicate because its brand page was editorial rather than advertising.

Sometimes I like to imagine that every wacky or poorly thought-out misadventure inflicted upon us by Australians is the result of living their entire lives hanging upside down from the underside of the planet. That much blood rushing to the head can’t be good for anyone.

Seriously though, editorial content? What could they be editorializing on here? You can’t make that claim without a statement that qualifies it. Call a spade a spade. Own up to it. This is a stupid image published on a stupid Facebook page with a stupid tagline, posted for the benefit of the stupid people who are stupid enough to drop stupid comments on it with their real names. This is no more of an “editorial piece” than the random-ass photos of cats that receive thousands of lazy-ass upvotes on Reddit.

I run a Facebook page for Caffeine-Fueled where I sometimes drop random images for laughs. I would never in a million years try to elevate any of that fluff to the level of actual, proper, legitimate written content for the same reason that I never pretend any of my silly YouTube posts are on an even keel with John’s review articles or Thor’s drinking games. I’m not even a professional and the idea of that pisses me off. It’s almost as insulting as those comments.

Thankfully, if there’s a silver lining to any of this, it’s the power of the internet laying everything out there for all to see like heads impaled on stakes as a warning to future trespassers. It’s just too bad that large corporations and individuals alike continuously fail to understand the give/take involved. But at least we can make fun of them for it.

The Streisand Effect. Keep it going, spread it around.

Petitions Never Work, But Here’s One For Suikoden

It’s nice to dream, isn’t it?

Fans of Konami’s long-neglected RPG epic Genso Suikoden have been starving for fresh non-portable, non-Kickstarter content these last several years, and while I’m sure this isn’t the first online petition to surface in that time, the Suikoden Revival Movement on Facebook does at least appear to be surprisingly well put together. But will it help?

Forgive me for being all bitter and pessimistic and “damn kids get off my lawn”, but the only time I’ve ever seen a fan movement on the internet accomplish anything was the “peanuts” campaign for Jericho, wherein fans of the cancelled post-apocalyptic drama secured a short second season by flooding the CBS mail room with packages of peanuts.

Well, that, plus the Browncoats buying DVD set after DVD set of Firefly out of their own pockets until Universal caved and greenlit Serenity. In both cases, the results could only be considered partially successful as they provided closure rather than continuation, or an easy-out for the studios to finally get all those pesky fans off their backs.

This isn’t an indictment on the Suikoden fans out there; I am one myself, after all. Hell, if it weren’t for my dabbling in the various Suikoden fan communities (Dukedom of Gaien represent!) I might not even be doing this right now, and my long-time posse of John Layfield and Thor McOdin and most of the forum folks wouldn’t be here either. All I’m saying is that Konami could be well beyond hope at this point. Quoth Jim Sterling:

…the fans are dealing with Konami, a publisher that might not even know it’s a videogame publisher these days, so I can only wish them luck on what is sure to be a frustrating journey.

suikoden valeria screen
Valeria speaks for the fans. Little scary, that.

That said, it’s important to note that the Suikoden Revival Movement’s campaign is very pro-active, rather than simply collecting social media props, and they aren’t shooting for the stars here either: their first goal, to get both Suikoden and Suikoden 2 on the Playstation Network worldwide, is probably quite attainable, or at least mostly attainable as regional versions of those two games currently exist without any major restoration or localization being necessary. The more development effort required on Konami’s part, the less likely this is to happen.

Personally, that might actually be enough for me. The ultimate goal – a proper continuation of the main series continuity a la Suikoden VI – has felt like a total impossibility for years and I think most of us are resigned to that fact by now. Suikoden VI happening seems about as likely as Sega dusting off the original pre-online Phantasy Star franchise for a refresh, or Square Enix finally doing something new with Chrono Trigger.

Still, Konami stands to lose very little by getting Suikoden 2 up on the Playstation Network alongside the original, already available in most territories. HD remasters of the PS2 games, or even just straight-up ports for PSN, are total longshots yet still fall squarely into the “would-be-nice” category in my mind. Hoping for anything else feels like a setup for heartbreak.

suikoden 2 flik screen
Flik’s dark prediction of a world without Suikoden.

If you’re interested in adding your voice to the chorus, hop on over to their Facebook page and click the Like button. It’s not phone calls and emails or tiny packages of peanuts, but it’ll take maybe three seconds out of your day and sometimes a little moral support can be really nice to have. If you do happen to have more time to spend on this cause, check out their activity calendar: it’s quite forward-thinking, meaning that unlike 99.9% of petition movements out there, these guys might actually stand a pretty good chance of accomplishing something.

Hey, while you’re over there, check out the one true Suikoden fan page, too. And then this. Y’know, for the moral support!

Source: Destructoid / Images: RPGFan; LP Archive.