The advertisers for Dead Space 2 certainly created an unusual set of ads for promoting the game. The premise of the ad was to show some of the gruesome scenes from the game, and show mothers’ reactions to them. All the mothers demonstrated disgust and shock and told the advertisers that they hated the game. This was an interesting way to try to sell the game because it intentionally portrayed the game as deviant because to its violence and gore. It made it seem as though every gamer would want the game because the mothers hated it. By doing this, the advertisers tried to appeal to what they saw to be a deviant subculture of gamers who played particularly violent games against their mothers’ wishes. The campaign could have been taking advantage of the Differential Association Theory (p 197) because it suggests that cool and hardcore gamers will play the game, which plays on the emotions of those who want to fit into that group. Another theory the advertisers could have been counting on is the Labeling Theory (p 192) because they thought that people who play these games could potentially accept the deviant label and engage in secondary deviance by seeking out violent games that would enhance their feeling of belonging in the subculture. While this may have worked on some individuals, I am sure a significant portion of gamers, including myself, were interested in the game because they had played the first one or it seemed like an interesting game. Part of the point is that people tend not to care whether their mothers like the game or not, and those old enough could buy the game without their mothers’ help. This campaign had received both harsh criticism for unintended messages that the ad could send and praise for the novel approach the company took.
Submitted by Samantha Parrotte