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Sony Pulls Controversial PSP Ad, Issues Apology 182

Posted by Zonk
from the needs-a-new-ad-agency dept.
xenongamer writes "Sony has finally stepped up and pulled the racially controversial PSP ads out of the Netherlands. 'We... recognize that people have a wide variety of perceptions about such imagery and we wish to apologize to those who perceived the advert differently to that intended. In future, we will apply greater sensitivity in our selection of campaign imagery, and will take due account of the increasingly global reach of such local adverts, and their potential impact in other countries,' said Sony in a statement."
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Sony Pulls Controversial PSP Ad, Issues Apology

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  • Stepped up? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Knara (9377) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @12:35PM (#15706583)
    They released ads in one country, and people with guilty social consciences complained in a totally different country. People need to get a grip, not every country in the world is socially obsessed with black vs. white race relations.
  • A Question (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ggKimmieGal (982958) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @12:40PM (#15706628)
    How do people from the Netherlands feel about the advertisement? I'm more interested in their opinion than politically correct America. What was the reaction in the Netherlands?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @12:47PM (#15706691)
    They targetted the ads for a very specific area, and that area doesn't seem to the be the area that is throwing a hissy fit over it.
    This is just a PR move, through and through, even if the apology is slightly bitter.
  • Re:Stepped up? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dark Paladin (116525) <jhummel@NospaM.johnhummel.net> on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @12:48PM (#15706699) Homepage
    Of course not. Which is why when I was in Saudi I was told that Egyptians always steal, and Jews are out to kill Muslims.

    And when I was in Kansas, I was told that the fact my sister-in-law had once dated a "nigger" was reason to be mad at her.

    The fact is that racism, religiousism, whateverism is still alive and well in the world today - and it is *exactly* by pointing it out that you extinguish it. I hear people complain about "political correctness", and how its destroying things.

    Of course, the counter argument, as Jon Stewart once pointed out, is that Thomas Jefferson used to fuck his slaves.

    So every time you see someone do something that vaguely smacks of racism, you have to squash it, and squash it so hard so that the people who still believe in that crap are reminded that the rest of the world doesn't agree with them. When Congress doesn't want to renew the Civil Rights Voting act because they feel that the areas it targets aren't racist anymore, you get right in those people's faces and tell them "Oh yes it is", and then you show where voters are intimidated or have their names removed from voting lists by using criminal lists from other states.

    Sony fucked up, and I don't care what country they do it in: they screwed the pooch big time. There were plenty of ways to show that the white PSP was coming - but to show a white woman subjigating a black woman

    Oh, and for the "well, they have an ad showing a black woman beating up on a white one", you go through centuries of slavery, then more decades of racism, then continued glares from people who think that you're a thief just because you're black, or have problems registering to vote or get ticketed for "driving while black" and continued segregation of the schools, *then* tell me if you don't mind the black woman beating up the white one. That one was just as bad in my opinion, and just because you don't find it offensive doesn't mean that it wasn't.
  • Re:Stepped up? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MassEnergySpaceTime (957330) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @12:51PM (#15706727)
    The Internet is blurring the country lines.
  • I for one... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Bryansix (761547) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @12:53PM (#15706739) Homepage
    think people need to lighten up. This is another case of pulling the race card when race was not involved. While Sony should have seen it coming an never released the ad; the reaction of various racial organizations was to over-react. What if the ad had a black woman grabbing the face of a white woman? I bet nobody would be bothered by that right?
  • Re:Stepped up? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Burlap (615181) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @01:06PM (#15706837)
    your President seems to differ from that opinion
  • Re:Stepped up? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by F_Scentura (250214) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @01:08PM (#15706871)
    "Still bothers me, though."

    The world must be a frightening and confusing place.
  • Re:A Question (Score:4, Insightful)

    by F_Scentura (250214) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @01:10PM (#15706889)
    The only people who cared were the American "gaming media", which was itself limited to a bunch of blogs with more ire than common sense.
  • Re:Deliberate (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Chris Burke (6130) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @01:16PM (#15706952) Homepage
    In retrospect, no matter what their motives or realizations were, I f*cking hate marketing and all forms of it.

    Yeah, same here.

    I guarantee you that despite whatever appology the PR flak gave, their marketing department is throwing a fucking party right now. This ad is nothing but a success for them.
  • About Sex... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sesshomaru (173381) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @01:21PM (#15707003) Journal
    Seriously, the ads were about sex, not violence. I know not everyone would find the models in the ads attractive, but they were supposed to be. The Ads were supposed to be titillating, not racially charged. Seriously, if you look at other, similar Ads (i.e. models posing and "doing stuff"), you'll see the same thing.

    Once, a few years ago, they had some ad with a really attractive woman shaving her face with some new razor, saying, "ooh, is this the sensitive part... poor baby." Obviously, the purpose of the ad wasn't the shaving (or they would have some gruff, bearded man shaving).

    So, all the controversy? It was about people totally not getting the ads.

  • Re:A Question (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 88NoSoup4U88 (721233) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @01:55PM (#15707300)
    Ugh, giving up my chance to mod this post [slashdot.org] down, but to hell with it:

    Over here in the Netherlands, the ads had been running for some time, and there were no visible complaints anywhere. It's such a shame that the over-political correct people have to censor what -I- get to see... from -their- country. WTF ?

    As this post [slashdot.org] points out, there's an equal one where one black woman is, (less agressively, I will admit that) attacking the white woman on the floor.
    Why does that, conveniently, gets pulled from the reports/complaints?

    Not that we don't have our own problems over here (currently, people from Marocco/Turkey have been bigger targets of racism, probably partly due to 9/11), but the black/white-issue is -much- more apparent in US society, than it ever has been in the Netherlands: So I find it hard to swallow that Sony will budge after getting complaints from another country.

    Even worse about this all is that the definition of 'racism' is getting stretched, and is losing much of its effectiveness. Before I know I will be put on trial for putting a dot with a black marker on a sheet of white paper.

    Politically correctness zealot : "Don't you people see he is depicting how the black people are surrounded - opressed by all the white around it ? If this isn't racism, then what is?!"
  • Re:A Question (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fermion (181285) * on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @02:19PM (#15707521) Homepage Journal
    One of the problems with being a global mega corporation in this well connected post-nafta, post-EU, post-APEC world is that it is no longer suffecient to merely worry about the advertising effect in one region. Any piece of advertising, any action whatever, is likely to leak worldwide very quickly. The very things that make the international mega corporation possible is the thing that makes the inadvertant blunders escalate to international levels.

    As many will quickly realize, this makes the advertising of the international mega corportation very banal. Which is only to be expected because in order to market to such a disparate group, many of the products must also be banal. But that is the compromise. In order to support the overhead and ineffeciencies inherent in the mega-corporation, a company like sony has to sell to nearly every person in the developed world. Sony's success depend on not pissing any of us off too much, so we will at least buyt something. And at least some of the products have to be generic enough so we can buy it. This does not mean that risks cannot be taken, but they must be careful.

    Unlike many here, Sony seems to realize this and took the appropriate action. It is unlikely that any harm was intended. They saw an international problem, and solved it. Good for them. As far as those who feel sorry for sony, it is thier choice. If they were local, they would not have to deal with the international community. But they want the money, so they must make the deals, and live with the consequences.

  • by Chris Burke (6130) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @02:32PM (#15707617) Homepage
    Oh, but the fact that they are of different races means it's insensitive. You wouldn't have a problem with the ad if it were two persons of the same race and gender.

    Um, yes, obviously. Or two races who had never had any kind of conflict, say Hawaiians and Arabs. That's called "context" and it's important. These ads don't exist in a vacuum. They exist in our world in which one race dominating, slaying, and enslaving another has been one of the continual themes of history. The ad itself pairs two races who have had such a history even up to today. That's significant. That can't be ignored.

    This hypersensitivity is actually serving to perpetuate racist views. It is forcing people to consider race as an issue when people really shouldn't have to.

    Race is an issue in many places in the world, and pretending otherwise is not going to make it go away. Racism and racial tensions exist in many parts of the world, and black vs white racial tension and racism exist here in the United States. Anyone who says it isn't is in denial or living somewhere where they don't have to deal with it.

    Race is an issue in these ads. This is just undeniable. Racial tension is also an issue. Sony can talk about "color" in the abstract sense of their PSPs as much as they want. These women aren't just white and black, they're European and African. Going at each other. Racial tension? Yes.

    But is it racism? I'd certainly say not. If you look at the whole series, it actually looks very passionate. They may be aggressive and combative, but they practically end up on top of each other. As someone else pointed out, the ad is basically about sex. Aggressive sex, but that doesn't make it hateful. Do you think interracial lovers sometimes feed off the racial tension between them? Certainly. In that sense the series is almost cathartic. The artist was using the implied tension towards their goal.

    So is hypersensitivity the problem here? Yeah, probably. It's a bit much to call the ads 'racist', though with the "White is coming" tagline and news articles only showing the white-gripping-black billboard, I can see how people would get the wrong impression. Remember though that like most kinds of hypesensitivity this arose from "over-stimulation" from actual racism and racial violence.

    Is hypersensitivity perpetuating racism? Well, somewhat perhaps. I had an aquaintence once get mad at me for making reference to the fact that she's black. That act of sensitivity certainly made me more self-conscious of race, but we got along fine after that. I've had another aquantence tell me that he hated having black people around and thought we should deport them back to Africa. Dropped him like a bad habit, of course, but what about when he has kids? My point is -- to whatever extent hypersensitivity perpetuates racism, actual racism perpetuates racism much, much more.

    So I suppose I'm going to have to come out in the middle on this issue. No, they aren't racist and the reactions were overblown. Yes, race is an issue in the ads and pretending otherwise is just avoidance or ignorance or whatever. In any event I don't feel sorry for Sony because appology or no they're getting exactly what they wanted from the ad.

  • Re:Stepped up? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @04:56PM (#15708765)
    Let me guess... You're white. Which means that it's much easier for you to pull the whole "oh, I'm colorblind! racism doesn't exist anymore" bullshit.
    Let me guess ... either either you're black and you have the unfortunate mindset that every non-african owes you something for the crimes committed by our forefathers; OR, you're white and you have an unhealthy level of white-guilt.

    Personally, I could care less what race you are. I am absolutely sick and tired of having this political correctness and affirmative action crap crammed down our throats. What I find simply amazing is how so many people fail to grasp how these notions only serve to perpetuate the very stereotypes they wish to destroy. As a minority myself, I find it INSULTING that the government tells me I'm not "good enough" to make it on my own. That I am somehow less capable than those other ethnicities, and would not be able to advance myself if it weren't for these "noble" notions (affirmative action, "special" rights, race-specific scholarships, admission "quotas", etc etc etc). As far as I'm concerned, these very programs - and the attempt to "level" the playing field by giving me a head-start over others, are every bit as racist as those who bought and sold my ancestors as so much property.

    Jesus christ, have you never cracked open a fucking history book?!
    This my dear sir, is the problem. Dredging up history, and pretending that the crimes and deeds of the past are as persistent in our modern society as they were then. America, it is time to MOVE ON. Stop allowing the race-card to be played. There was a time in the past for such behavior, but THANK GOD, that time has PASSED. Continually framing issue after issue in a racial context only serves to highlight and emphasize SUPERFICIAL differences. Nobody is denying the fact that there have been grave sins committed in our great nation's past. But if we fail to look forward, and we constantly worry ourselves sick over how our ancestors behaved, we will be unable to achieve anything worthwhile for our generation - leaving our children to ponder and be amazed by our ineptitude.
  • Re:Stepped up? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by acidrain69 (632468) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @11:07PM (#15710485) Journal
    There is no such thing as "reverse" racism. You're either racist or you're not.
  • Re:Stepped up? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sumdumass (711423) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @12:16AM (#15710738) Journal
    I think you hit the issue on the head. The media in general is making this a racialy charged incident. I doubt the average person would see a race issue in it without having the idea pointed out to them first.

    I guess whatever sell advertising and suscriptions :(

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