[VGAD analyzes video game advertising and marketing campaigns. What worked, what didn’t, and what’s just straight up gameplay footage.]
I would like to begin by saying that I have not played WWE12. I’m sure the game is actually pretty good for a wrestling simulator. I’m basing this entire article on the TV spot Ihappened to catch one night at 3:00 AM.The commercial in question leads me to award WWE 12 with the “gayest advertisement ever award.”
I understand wrestling isn’t a sport that can be explained without dipping intohomoerotic fan-fiction territory, but this commercial crosses the lines thatadvertisers should have drawn before making up the storyboard. Let’s look atthe demographic for WWE 12, the target audience that THQ considered forthe game they’re publishing: Men. There are women interested in wrestling, ofcourse, but men make up the biggest fan base for wrestling. Keep in mind thatother portions of the audience exist. Other genders, ethnicities and age groupscome into play. But that doesn’t matter when it comes to advertising. Whatmatters is the group that will buy the product the most.
That being said, this game will still be bought by that group. It wouldn’treally matter to big wrestling fans whether or not they saw this. They wouldwant this game just the same way as big fishing fans want to buy Rapala gamesand even swing the extra cash for the peripherals. It doesn’t matter if thegame is shit or not, not many versions of it come out for that to matter. Thesame applies when making the advertisement. It doesn’t matter if it’s super gayor not because the big time fans want it. Whether or not this spot was seen bymany is up for questioning also. I only saw it once and managed to find ithidden in Youtube.
I’ve made it clear I’m not a fan of trailers serving as advertisements for agame so it makes me happy that this isn’t the case here. There’s a fourteensecond intro and the rest of the commercial features gameplay shots to reallysell. This is because the intro does not. I’ll take that back, it sold it tome. When it came on I instantly stopped what I was doing and fixed my eyes.I’m not a fan of wrestling, but I wanted that game. This is the endresult of suddenly bringing on a half naked extremely fit guy into your ad. Notjust bringing him into it, zooming into his muscles which are oiled up for no apparentreason. Is THQ working in cahoots with vegetable oil companies? For fucks sake,they even zoomed into and lingered on that sexy v cut thing. If that’s not pornterritory, I don’t know what is. It felt like the entire thing was actually aminute long. I know I’m an advocate of “sex sells” but I don’t think they understand it’s meant to be used in reservation. Knowwhat needs sex to sell. This does not.
The main fans of wrestling will buy this game, while theones that need convincing and see this won’t. Be it because they’re not intofourteen seconds of Randy Orton’s dick in their face, or because they thinkit’s a mockery of a game as a result of it. It’s one porn song away from being a parody of wrestling. Would you get pumped up for the nextSuper Mario Galaxy if the first fourteen seconds were different zoom in shotsof Mario’s naked body? If he was wearing clothes and slow suspenseful music played as a final reveal happens where everything cuts and it’s simply himsaying, “MAMA MIA”… Then it would be perfect. Randy Orton’s steroid promo won’tsell copies. Stick to the gameplay shots when it’s what will sell and don’twaste money hiring stars when you don’t need to, game advertisers.