Your Sunday Morning Facepalm

Over on CNET, a writer dares ask the question, "How far should violent video game ads be kept from schools?" Oh, God ...

This goes back to the row over the mean-ol scary Killzone 2 ads in Toronto (and has its roots in the mean-ol scary Fallout 3 ads in Washington and Grand Theft Auto IV ads in Chicago.) And like the previous two cases, it engenders a completely pointless debate.

For those not in the know, Someone saw a Killzone 2 poster in a city bus stop near a school. A teacher at that school - in a line of reasoning that's pissy even by Canadians' good-government values - emailed Sony Canada asking them to quit scaring the kids, especially in light of its failure to "promote any kind of community renewal or even responsibility." Sony removed the ads, from about 300 bus shelters throughout the city.

Your Sunday Morning Facepalm

That's straight out of the PR playbook: Remove the source of stink immediately. There's something about a pledge not to stick these ads near schools anymore but, really, if Sony's just saying that to get this teacher to be quiet, fine. Who is going to enforce such a pledge anyway?

Well, CNET's Don Reisinger picks up the bit:

Sony has made the pledge to keep violent video game ads away from schools. But developing the proper radius might be difficult, since there are so many schools in most communities, leaving only certain areas available to ads. And then there's the likelihood that ads placed in these areas won't be effective because they won't be viewed by the target demographic. After all, the ads in the bus shelters were placed there for a reason: kids would see them and want the game. While I applaud Sony for taking the ads down over community unrest, I wonder how it plans to implement its advertising-free zones, since a standard distance probably won't work around every school. In fact, I'm not even sure what a fair distance would be. Does Sony know something we don't?

And again we have the assumption that just because children can be found in the same area as adults, all advertising there is exclusively targeted to children. I also like the classification "violent video game ads." Apparently the advertisements of these games are themselves violent and capable of causing harm.

Your Sunday Morning Facepalm

Sony backing down is Sony's business. Its brand is more than video games and well more different than Bethesda's or Rockstar's. Teachers, preachers and politicians go to movies and buy TVs, too. So the answer to this question is really: "Far enough away to keep schoolmarms and neighborhood scolds from bitching at you." It still brings up a poll: How far should violent video game ads be kept from schools? Unsurprisingly, "Put them anywhere" is the runaway leader.

How Far Should Violent Video Game Ads Be Kept Away From Schools? [CNET via Blue's News]