Tag Archives: the streisand effect

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.