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EA Defends Controversial Marketing Campaigns

Jonathan Lester
Bulletstorm, Controversy, EA, Games news, Hype, Marketing

Publishers Should "Court Controversy"

EA Defends Controversial Marketing Campaigns

EA know that any publicity is good publicity... and whilst their marketing campaigns undoubtedly cheapen us all and everything we stand for, they certainly know how to hype a game beyond all reason. However, EA Games Head Frank Gibeau has spoken out to say that the controversy over Mass Effect, Bulletstorm and Medal Of Honor is better than any advertising run - and that there's nothing wrong with "courting controversy."

In an interview with IndustryGamers, EA's Frank Gibeau defends EA's handling of the Bulletstorm debacle, Dead Space 2 's minor-centric mum torturing ad campaign and the media furore over the inclusion of The Taliban. Apparently it's fine to court controversy and use it to your advantage so long as the game is worth it.

Controversy isn’t a bad thing. I personally believe you should court controversy.

You should do it in a way that matches the creative integrity of the game. You shouldn’t do it in a gratuitous way, but if it matches the creativity of the game… I loved it when Fox News did the lesbian aliens on Mass Effect. I love when they covered the Taliban; I loved it when they covered the Bulletstorm stuff. In each one of those cases, it was true to the game and we were trying to do something creatively.

Courting (and even helping to fan the flames beneath) controversy is apparently a great way to get your games into the mainstream consciousness, despite the fact that the rest of our medium is tarred with the same brush. Gibeau continued to explain that media storms provide EA with the perfect soapbox to defend their wares - and that they'll do so aggressively to protect their studios' freedom of expression. And throw more coal into the hype machine, naturally.

The fact that [EA's detractors'] point of view is different than ours and represented an audience out there is fine by me. I felt we could stand up and defend what we did and be aggressive about it and be proud of it.

I understand what they’re trying to do. I’m not going to respect their point of view as it concerns some of the things that we’ve done. We’re very proud of what we’ve done in each of those cases and have been very aggressive about defending ourselves.

Really, Frank? Are you sure about that? Did you defend your games? Really?Because as I recall, you completely went to pieces over the Taliban's inclusion in Medal Of Honor... despite technically being in the right thanks to the freedom of artistic expression. Just sayin'.

I know that you've got something to say about this one. Is courting controversy a legitimate marketing technique? Or are EA's controversial marketing schemes... followed by inevitable backlash... stopping our industry from moving forward? Have your say in the comments!

Add a comment2 comments
Andrew  Mar. 15, 2011 at 11:23


^what they said

Matt Gardner  Mar. 15, 2011 at 11:35

Saw that at the turn of the month, brilliantly put.

Incidentally, the spectacular failure of We Dare has meant that a Top Ten Worst Marketing Campaigns piece is already in the pipeline.

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