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Promotional Consideration: Come As You Are

Eric Caoili

Promotional Consideration is a weekly feature about the Nintendo DS advertisements you usually flip past, change the channel on, or just tune out.

If you missed our spotlight on Leo Burnett's "Communion Day" ad last Sunday, make sure to give it a glance. Even if you've already skimmed through our words on the award-winning piece, we've updated our summation with some insight from art director Rosemary Collini Bosso.

This weekend's installment of Promotional Consideration takes a critical eye to an unconvincing ad that might actually drive away consumers. Read on for more details.

"Say hello to your new guitar."
Click the resized picture for a larger version.

Hangin' out. Playing music. Looking like a bunch of jerkwads.

We've extolled the virtues of Jam Sessions many times in the past, so it pains us to see the guitar simulation advertised (Nintendo Power, V218) in this manner. The top-left and bottom-right sections aren't particularly offensive, repeating the boxart's hip aesthetic; it's what's between those two corners that's caused us grief.

If it weren't for the DS Lites -- the female, lacking her own handheld and likely a groupie for this band of clowns, can only strum along on an imaginary thigh-guitar -- we would've mistaken this photo as having been grabbed from a stock collection. The staged smiles and feigned camaraderie of these apartment musicians just doesn't work. You cannot sell an image when everything about it feels inauthentic.

It's an insult to any promotional piece when comparisons can justifiably be drawn to Nokia's disastrous N-Gage advertisement from mid-2005:

Upon seeing the unappealing image above, Penny Arcade's Mike Krahulik (Gabe) had the following to say: "Am I supposed to relate to this jackass? Is that a gamer? What the f--- is wrong with his face? I saw a lot of f---ing gamers this week and I'm here to tell you not one of them looked like that."

Over-exaggerated faces from Nokia's and Ubisoft's ads compared:

Is it just us, or does the marketing firm that handled this Jam Sessions advertisement seem completely out of touch with the game's intended audience?

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