I studied Marketing at university; did a double major in the field even. So when I see examples of lazy marketing campaigns, like the one EBGames - Australia's largest, specialist videogames retailer - launched recently, I die a little inside. The animated short shows how men can trade-in games and save money so that they can buy their nagging wives pretty things. Sounds like we've travelled back in time, yeah?
Marketing and - by extension - advertising can be a powerful, almost beautiful force when the right people are behind it. When you've got the wrong people, a terrible idea, or a combination of the two, you get just over a minute full of tired, arguably-offensive stereotypes that can, at the very least, offend a growing and important segment of the market: the fairer sex.
In the recently-released Digital Australia report (care of Kotaku Australia), it was revealed that females make up forty-seven percent of gamers in Australia. This number has also been on the up consistently since 2005. EBGames didn't have to look hard for this, and now they've potentially insulted what is effectively half of the market.
Kudos to writer, Elizabeth DeLoria for raising her concerns with EB directly. Her valid jabs at the gaming giant garnered support via Twitter and eventually featured on Kotaku AU (complete with some unfortunate commentary from what is usually a great community). Even with both editors jumping in to ask for restraint from some of the more outspoken trolls, some unsavoury comments still managed to get through (congratulations to Mark and Tracey for putting the call out for respect and decency on the message boards). Some even took their puzzling defense of the ill-conceived advertisement to Elizabeth directly. I was bemused, to say the least.
EB's defense of the campaign was just as miscalculated. Apparently, a sexist advertisement written by a woman isn't sexist. To make matters worse, they even penned a follow-up that illustrates how women can benefit from trading and saving that is yet to be released. Who knows, girls: maybe you'll be able to buy that pair of shoes you always wanted AND enjoy the latest releases? What a world that would be?
If you're really well behaved, I'might even let you watch me play!
I just found another reason to shop for my games online. I might have to wait that little bit longer, but at least I'm not helping to fund redundant advertising for a greedy retailer that is out of touch with its evolving range of customers.
What did you think of the advertisement? Am I blowing this out of proportion?