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Sony Pulls Controversial PSP Ad, Issues Apology 182

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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  • Re:Stepped up? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kesch ( 943326 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @01:42PM (#15706642)
    Step 1: Release ads in Amsterdam.
    Step 2: Manage to get huge American ad attention by triggering guilty social conscience
    Step 3: When interest in ad begins to dwindle, drum up more publicity and goodwill by announcing withdrawl
    Step 4: ????
    Step 5: Profit!

    Honestly, for the price of a few billboards Sony is getting a lot of coverage for the new white PSP.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @01:46PM (#15706681)
    Not only was the social outcry from other countries, virtually every article and discussion that decried the campaign focused on the white over black advertisement.

    As was stated by others in the earlier discussion, would there have been a huge outcry if there existed only one advertisement, and it was black over white?

    My opinion? I seriously, seriously doubt it.
  • Deliberate (Score:5, Interesting)

    by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <(eldavojohn) (at) (gmail.com)> on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @01:46PM (#15706687) Journal
    This is my opinion, I have nothing to back it up but I think Sony released these ads with the intent of causing unrest. As pointed out in prior comments on Slashdot, they got some great coverage with this advertising campaign.

    But the ads rely entirely on imagery. The pictures I saw didn't even have words on them, just two women. One completely white and one completely black in all respects. As also pointed out earlier there were three images with only the white-on-top-of-black one being controversial.

    Why did they pick humans? The humans are supposed to represent PSPs, an inate object? I don't understand why this decision was made to use human beings. Put a black wolf and a white timberwolf in the image. Put a black demon and a white angel in the image. Why would you put two ethnicities of the human race that have obvious baggage attached to them. Even if it doesn't offend anyone you know, there are people alive today that are still suffering from the effects of racial tensions either directly or indirectly.

    Why did they pick women? Again, the women are representing a PSP, you're just inviting people to speculate that women are objects. And to gamers, this might be "ok" or welcomed but when you throw it on a billboard, you're only drawing heat.

    Why is there a struggle between these two subjects? Why would different colored PSPs fight each other? Are they incompatible? Is one better than the other? Again, I don't understand why they made the decision to pit them against each other in the images.

    In retrospect, no matter what their motives or realizations were, I f*cking hate marketing and all forms of it.
  • Re:Stepped up? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ReverendLoki ( 663861 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @02:02PM (#15706820)
    This is stupid. What if the campaign were recreated, using just two white women, one wearing white and the other wearing black? What if it were two white men? How about two black men? How about two persian women? How about two ______ _______? 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.

    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. Please don't feed me a line about the "years of oppression". What if the white woman was Jewish? In that particular ad campaign (of which people only ever seem to show one image of, conveniently leaving out another where the roles are reversed), who's opressing who?

    Personally, I'm disappointed in Sony for their retraction. Go ahead and say your sorry people have misinterpreted the intent of the campaign, that's fine. Even pulling the campaign itself s understandable.. apparently, people are too stupid for this ad campaign to work. But to come out and "admit" they were wrong? That's just caving into peer pressure there.
  • by BluePariah ( 987431 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @02:12PM (#15706910)
    This is pretty clearly a case of viral marketing. Sony's ad agency for this piece was TBWA [tbwa.com], who market themselves as 'disruptive idea makers.' As has already been stated many times, why spend cash on a huge campaign when you have the collective dissemination might of the media giants to do it for you. Down to the brass tacks here folks - Do you really think little Billy and Jane give two craps about the socio-political aspects of this ad? All they want is the new Pokemon Digi-farm 2007 Gold Extra Special Photo Pack 12... Even if you make the argument that the PSP is marketed at older gamers, say 21-30, the ad is still effective. Most people here are gamers, and you all know as well as I do that gamers are a decidedly amoral lot - junkies. They might complain about the lack of black people in Warcraft on the forums but they're still logging in every day to loot that next epic. Same philosophy as the 'anti-smoking' ads that the Tobacco Co's put out - the CONTENT of the message means nothing because at the end of the day its still 30 seconds spent talking about smoking.
  • Malice & Stupidity (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Cleon ( 471197 ) <cleon42@[ ]oo.com ['yah' in gap]> on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @02:15PM (#15706938) Homepage
    I'm a firm believer in the idea, "never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity."

    I deal with my company's marketing department often; they inevitably display all the forethought and insight of a mentally challenged rutabaga. The chances of this being a consciously racist ad are virtually zero.

    Furthermore, it's not like the PSP is doing poorly in the sales department; they really don't need to generate this kind of controversy just to get their name in the media. The planned prices for PS3 is doing that just fine.

    At the end of the day, this just strikes me as another attack of the stupids.
  • Re:About Time... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by timster ( 32400 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @02:39PM (#15707148)
    If the other two images aren't always displayed alongside the questionable one, the fact of their existence is irrelevant. It may prove that the people at Sony aren't racists, but it doesn't prove that they aren't idiots.

    You can go on as long as you want about hypersensitivity and whether there was intent or blah blah blah, but the story here was never that Sony had joined the white supremacist movement. The story all along is that Sony had done something stupid. The offense taken by some people is perhaps pointless, but there wasn't any need for Sony to stir up that offense in the first place.
  • by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @02:46PM (#15707209) Homepage
    But otherwise, yeah, you're right. Taken -out- of the context of the ads, and without the unfortunate "White is coming" tagline, they actually make for a pretty good art series that doesn't look racist, actually the opposite. I don't know if the artist intended them to be ordered as such, but if you start with the one with them squaring off and snarling at each other, followed by the white woman grabbing the other woman's face in what's both an aggressive and intimite gesture, followed by the white woman more supine with the black woman over her. Looks like two people who perhaps don't like each other or are just aggressive like that but are attracted to each other succumbing to their passions.

    Now obviously this doesn't eliminate the fact that race is an element of these pictures, and the racial tension that is implied. But of course a piece of art that involves racial tension is not necessarily racist. Just as the women's anger and tension seems to be leading up to a sensual release, so too are the racial tensions that the viewer is going to be seeing and feeling. Very provacative.

    Sadly, it is in the context of an ad, and with the unfortunate tagline, and really was just a bad idea on Sony's part. Er, other than it being a ridiculously successful advertisement, of course.

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