Guest Post: Bobby Dennis on Game of War’s titillating advertising

Hey readers, I’m in the midst of another pretty busy spell where I just haven’t been able to find time to write much. Luckily, I have a guest post from a faithful How Manly reader to fill in for me this week. The piece comes from a young man by the name of Bobby Dennis (who you can learn about on the authors page). He’s got some beef with the popular mobile game Game of War and it’s sexist advertising and I was happy to let him discuss it here. Enjoy…

Game of War, I see your game!

I don’t know about you, but I’m currently addicted to a game on my phone. The game? Trivia Crack! However I cannot justify paying $3.99 for its uninterrupted, ads free goodness. Unfortunately, this means I’m subjected to the same series of ads, all day long. So every 15 minutes I end up having to watch a video advertising the oh so cleverly named (not), Game of War.

What exactly is Game of War? Well I don’t know because the advertising sure doesn’t tell me much. Watching their ads over and over again however I did learn one thing; The game’s makers are trying really hard to get gamers. Hard enough to shell out a ton of money for a series of ads, including an extremely high priced Super Bowl version, staring supermodel Kate Upton. This reality left me wondering; are they selling a game, or are they really selling sex?

Every time I watch one of these Upton-ized Game of War commercials, I swear I learn less about the game and more about… objectification? Kate Upton? Hell, I don’t know. The way these ads cast the male gaze on the body of Upton in between all the fantasy violence consistently leaves me wondering, “what was that even about?’’ I think I see a catapult… oh and is that a minotaur? But what do those things have to do with Kate Upton and her bath? It’s all very confusing.

If that wasn’t bad enough, Upton isn’t given much to do in these ads besides wander around and spout a bunch of cheesy lines typically heard in late night phone sex ads. Lines like; “do you want to come and play?’’ … “come and meet my friends” … “my friends are excited to meet you” and “come back and play with me.” Again, I’m confused… am I being asked to buy a mobile phone game or “chat with local girls who live in my town” for $25.00 a minute? There’s no question about it, the makers of Game of War are blatantly using sex to sell the game.

I guess when you advertise a mobile phone game like a phone sex line, what 13 year old boy isn’t going to buy the game, right? I mean come on… It’s almost impossible for a young man to say no to those statements because we all know young males are stupid, sex driven, and can’t control their impulses right? (that would be sarcasm). Sadly however, I have to concede that this tactic must be working. Because as it turns out, partially due to those ads the game hauls in around $1 million per day!

I don’t know which is worse, the fact that they employ this dated and offensive tactic, or the fact that it’s actually working. Come on young guys, we’re better than that. I know we’re not all stupid, sex driven, and can’t control our impulses… and you know it too. But when we support a game that employs such sexist advertising tactics, it sends the wrong message.

Here is my other issue with the Game of War ads; Upton’s lines also include statements like; “can I rely on you?” The line seems intended to convince young boys that they have to buy the game to protect their new crush Kate Upton.

Even worse, lines like that set up a kind of dissonance about her character that can only leave you scratching your head. We hear so many conflicting statements from Upton in these ads. One minute we see a strong sexualized woman putting on armor and preparing for battle. We view her as a leader, and a female that can kick ass and is in control. Then the next minute we shift back to a woman who is asking for help. A damsel in distress that needs the player to save her from her from the big scary monsters.

Putting it simply; Upton is nothing more than a sexual object in these commercials whose sole purpose is to project sex to sell video games to young boys. The fact that we watch the ads and find ourselves remembering only Upton’s presence while asking, “wait, who is she supposed to be?” and “what is this game even about?” serves as a good reminder of this. Unfortunately the game’s marketing operates under the assumption that we won’t care, or even worse, that we are too stupid to notice.

Game or War, I see your game and I for one am not going to fall for it. Anyone else care to join me?

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  • John Tall November 28, 2015, 9:33 PM

    That was some well written words. From the first day I saw one of these ads I know I wouldn’t ever want to even check out that game. Sad to see things like that is even allowed.

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