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Ad critic: Oblivion ad hot or not?

Vladimir Cole

In our third installment of the Friday ad critic series, we bring you a more mundane ad (hey, sometimes it's just not appropriate to use sex to sell a game, but it sure makes for a less exciting ad), this time from the April issue of Computer Gaming World. This is a condensed version of a two-page Oblivion advert that ran across many gaming magazines in the month of April, and the best word to describe it might be "conventional." Is it too conventional, too standard, too boring? Does this epitome of the standard video game advertisement succeed or fail?

Does the ad do justice to the game? If you're breathing and if you've been reading games media printed on dead trees, you've seen this thing in a magazine. Did it do anything for you when you first saw it? How about now?

See also: Hitman ad critique, Tomb Raider ad critique.

One quick note to address some reader concerns that popped up in our previous discussions of advertising: we're not paid by any company to post these ads. There's no profit in it for us. We're doing this for a few reasons.

  • We believe that our readers (by virtue of their formidable experience as game consumers and the mere fact that they're reading Joystiq, a blog that prides itself on unconventional angles on the games industry) have intelligent things to say on the subject of these ads, and can deconstruct and dissect these things like pros.
  • It's fun.
  • It's interesting. With 173 insightful comments (and counting) made about the Hitman ad, it's clear that there's tremendous interest in reverse engineering what it is that marketers are trying to achieve in their communications to gamers.
  • It makes us better consumers. Reverse engineering the tricks that companies use to sell us games helps us make better decisions about the quality of games and helps us cut through the bullshit to properly assess the quality of titles.
  • It gives us self-knowledge. Who are you as a gamer? Do you understand what motivates you to play? What you want out of a game? By dissecting these adverts, we begin to understand how marketers view us and how they segment us into psychographic or demographic groups. We develop understanding of who we are by discovering how others perceive us.

Hope that provides plenty of justification for why we have started this series, and why we'll continue to run it. Response to this has been fantastic, thanks!

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