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Religion as marketing: Offensive or boring?

by Stephanie Duchenne (Panda McBearface)  Posted Tuesday, April 23, 2013 11:44:29 AM

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I have just watched a “teaser” for GTA V on GameSpot.com and I don’t think it’s had the desired effect on me. Let me show you the trailer before elaborating:

I know I was supposed to get all excited to see snippets of the game and start slavering at the chops while I eagerly await its release (which I kind of am regardless of said trailer), but after reading the comments section I got side-tracked.

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Firstly, I was quite pleased to discover I wasn’t the only one who found the video too annoying to watch to completion. Secondly, I found myself agreeing with “Bond Villain” who said:

Dear marketing types,

THIS VIDEO IS BORING.

Religion got old after that Bioshock Infinite baptism thing.

Clearly, marketers feel like they have cottoned on to something here. Call me Captain Obvious, but yes, controversy equals publicity. But what happens when a specific type of controversy is used to the point where it’s becomes completely over-saturated? Just recently, marketers have attempted to make people mad through the use of religious themes in games like Hitman: Absolution (leather-clad sex-nuns); Bioshock Infinite (previously mentioned) and now GTA V (cults). Isn’t that enough already? In my opinion, yes.

Aside from the lack of simple respect for peoples’ beliefs, surely this shows an enormous lack of creativity? I know the world can be a messed up place, but surely the human race isn’t that jaded that these “marketing types” can find something else to offend us with? I know that religion has become a thing that is in some cases seen as being socially acceptable to parody, but that’s an issue for another blog. The main thing that annoys me about all this is that I think it shows a distinct lack of creativity when games are only marketable through generated controversy as opposed to through other things one would consider important, like plot or artwork.

So here is my message:

Religion as a marketing tool, is a phenomenon that marketers should allow to lie down and die instead of wringing its lungs for every last molecule of oxygen. In all honesty, the only way that this trailer for GTA V is going to generate any sort of conflict is if Scientology (or some other pseudo-religious organisation) takes offense to it and either sues Rockstar or erases the trailer from the internet. Maybe even both, because Scientologists want to put their ethics in you and like to be taken seriously (which is why you can’t find that embarrassing video of Tom Cruise jumping on Oprah’s couch like a grasshopper on steroids anywhere).

What do you think about it all?

For a previous article of mine on the same topic, look here.


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Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not MWEB Connect (Pty) Ltd



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