Deep Silver is always getting in trouble for going too far with its marketing for Dead Island: Riptide. First, they get nailed for including a disembodied torso sculpture in their collector’s edition bundle. Now, their TV ads are being yanked off the air for… showing a couple committing suicide!? What the heck Deep Silver!?
The game’s local distributor, AIE, issued a statement saying that the use of suicide in the commercial is contextually relevant to the game and appropriate for use on TV. It read as follows:
The cinematic implication of violence in the advertisement is intended to convey the desolate terror afflicting the game characters, and I believe is contextually relevant to the product being advertised, as it conveys the hopelessness of the games’ characters as they are faced with the overwhelming horror and violence of vast numbers of zombies hunting them, without actually depicting the violence of zombie vs character interaction in the game.
The final scene of the advertisement shows the logo of the game, which consists of a silhouetted palm tree, signifying the island in the game title, a silhouetted zombie hanging by the neck from the palm tree, signifying the dead in the game title, placed to the left of the title ‘Dead Island Riptide’ which is written in dark dripping red to appear bloody.
For those of you who haven’t seen the ad, the suicide is literally the only thing shown. A couple is trapped in an overturned boat, hugging each other while soft music plays in the background. The camera pans out to show a horde of zombies trying to get into the boat, and propane tanks leaking gas into the boat. What follows is one final “I Love You” before the couple strike a lighter, triggering a massive explosion that kills themselves and the zombies around them.
Australia’s Advertising Standards Board has banned the ad from airing. They have responded to AIE with this statement:
The Board noted the fantasy content and the stylized nature of the advertisement and considered that the issue of suicide is a depiction of violence which is not justifiable even in the context of an advertisement for a computer game aimed at adults.
The issue of suicide is a very significant community concern and considered that the use of images which are strongly suggestive of suicide is not appropriate in the context of a television advertisement for a computer game.
What do you think? Has this marketing campaign gone too far? Let us know in the comments.