EA Might Be In Trouble For Using Scared Moms As Game Bait

Electronic Arts' Dead Space 2 marketing campaign is in the sights of a parents advocacy group.

Well, actually, it is, since a "parent advocacy group" is calling out the campaign for the same reason I think it's stupid: it completely overshoots (and in many ways insults) its target market, pandering to a demographic that won't (and shouldn't) even be looking at the game, let alone buying it.

If you haven't seen it, the campaign focused on the reaction of mothers to the game's gorier and scarier moments. It closes with "Dead Space 2. It's everything you love in a game, and your mom's going to hate it."

What is this, 1993? Does Dead Space 2 do what Nintendon't? Dead Space 2 is a game rated Mature, meaning it's pitched at people who at their youngest are 17 years old. But these "moms" in many cases look more like "grandmothers", which makes things worse: either EA is pitching the game at kids who think pissing off their parents is cool (kids who shouldn't be playing the game), or it thinks the children of these women - who would be in their twenties and thirties - think pissing off their parents is cool.

Neither scenario makes EA look too good.

Believing EA's intentions were more sinister than lame, Common Sense Media has urged the Entertainment Software Ratings Board to "sanction Electronic Arts for creating an ad campaign that would be irresistible to teens and younger boys".

"We think it violates the ESRB's Principles and Guidelines for Responsible Advertising Practices," Common Sense Media chief executive Jim Steyer writes. "The question is does the ESRB stick up for kids or not."

I'd say it merely violates the guidelines for making ad campaigns that don't suck, but if the ESRB want to get involved, by all means, knock yourselves out.

For its part, EA obviously believes it's done nothing wrong, saying the campaign had to be cleared by the ESRB before it could run. Which it did.

Parent advocacy group hates EA's 'Your Mom Hates Dead Space 2' ads [LA Times]