Violent Reaction To Viral Game Campaign

SEGA has been forced to defend the marketing for its latest horror genre computer game, saying it won’t be seen by children, despite the fact that it parodies children’s entertainment to sell violent content to its audience of young men.

A viral campaign for Condemned 2, has proliferated in the blogosphere since it was sent to media and opinion formers last month, the ad agency behind it, Clemenger BBDO, says.

It is the way it has been marketed that has raised alarm bells among child advocates, however.

Clemenger’s animated campaign, called Offset the Evil, features a little pony, a clown and lollipop characters – each of which sings along to a tune detailing the violence that characterises the game, which carries an MA 15+ classification.

For instance, in the spot for the pony, it sings: “You killed a hobo with an iron bar, smashed his head through the window of a car.” Interspersed in the films are split-second frames depicting brutal scenes from the game.

Clemenger executives said the campaign was “more successful than in the US and the UK” where the game has been launched, but it could not back up its claims. Sales are above expectations, Sega says.

Now Sega and Clemenger plan to put the virals on TV within the next two months. The game’s classification means that ads cannot air before 9pm.

Sega defended the campaign, saying it was placed on hardcore gaming sites and not on mainstream websites that could be seen by children. A Sega spokesman, Vispi Bhopti, said there was “far more dangerous content [on the internet] than a clip that has some comedic crazy comments”.

Sega was confident that children would not stumble on the clips but if they did Mr Bhopti said it would be evident that the content was not for them. “We are not in the business of pushing it to the wrong audience. If you watch the [content] it is clear this is not something for a younger audience,” he added.

Elizabeth Handsley of Young Media Australia said by then the damage would be done: “I can see the humour and the irony of it but I am an adult and my adult sensibilities can determine that, but can a child?

“I can just see this sort of thing being downloaded to a computer by an older brother and then a child stumbling across the violent scenes.”

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