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Sony Pulls Controversial PSP Ad, Issues Apology

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the needs-a-new-ad-agency dept.

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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182 comments

About Time... (-1, Flamebait)

monkaduck (902823) | more than 7 years ago | (#15706580)

It's about time SOny got their head out of their ass and looked around at the rest of the world.

Re:About Time... (1)

frodo from middle ea (602941) | more than 7 years ago | (#15706685)

better yet,

they should trademark...'shooting yourslef in the foot'.

Re:About Time... (1)

Duds (100634) | more than 7 years ago | (#15706752)

Or more likely the other way round.

Re:About Time... (3, Informative)

LocalH (28506) | more than 7 years ago | (#15706881)

It's about time you got your head out of your ass and looked at the other two images [joystiq.com] .

Re:About Time... (2, Interesting)

timster (32400) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Stepped up? (4, Insightful)

Knara (9377) | more than 7 years ago | (#15706583)

They released ads in one country, and people with guilty social consciences complained in a totally different country. People need to get a grip, not every country in the world is socially obsessed with black vs. white race relations.

Re:Stepped up? (1)

Stratus Fear (771632) | more than 7 years ago | (#15706626)

Yeah, seriously. I wish that over here in the US we wouldn't get so uppity about what's going on internally in another country. It's not like it's really our business or anything. Not all cultures should be the same as ours, and I'd hope that they aren't. Diversity is important.

Re:Stepped up? (1, Insightful)

Burlap (615181) | more than 7 years ago | (#15706837)

your President seems to differ from that opinion

Re:Stepped up? (2, Interesting)

Kesch (943326) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:Stepped up? (0)

Knara (9377) | more than 7 years ago | (#15706655)

Good point. Still good press for Sony's product

Still bothers me, though.

Re:Stepped up? (0, Flamebait)

KingVance (815011) | more than 7 years ago | (#15706774)

bothers you how? because it shows a white chick dressed in white grabbing the face of a black chick dressed in black? it wouldnt bother you if it was the other way around burn in hell now mod me down

Re:Stepped up? (1)

StarvingSE (875139) | more than 7 years ago | (#15706857)

Actually there is an ad the other way around: black chick beating up white chick. There is also a third ad where they are shown as equals.

Re:Stepped up? (4, Informative)

rcamera (517595) | more than 7 years ago | (#15706929)

it wouldnt bother you if it was the other way around


it was the other way around as well. there were 3 ads. one features a black girl and a white girl on equal footing, one featured the black girl in a dominant position over the white girl, and one featured the white girl in a dominant position over the black girl. why does everyone just keep talking about the white over black ad? even my local news failed to mention the other two ads...

check out this old post [slashdot.org] for links to all three ads.

Re:Stepped up? (1)

KingVance (815011) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707252)

The only one getting the attention is the white on black one. I hate the liberal media.

Re:Stepped up? (1)

LocalH (28506) | more than 7 years ago | (#15706853)

What about the other two images [joystiq.com] ? Do they bother you as well? If not, you're a reverse racist.

Re:Stepped up? (3, Insightful)

F_Scentura (250214) | more than 7 years ago | (#15706871)

"Still bothers me, though."

The world must be a frightening and confusing place.

Re:Stepped up? (1)

Denney (947351) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707044)

goodness!! read the original posting by your post's parent - the very first post... and then understand what he/she is really saying.

Re:Stepped up? (1)

Denney (947351) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707074)

Actually, I meant to reply to post by LocalH [slashdot.org]

Re:Stepped up? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15706729)

Yes, because Sony Computer Entertainment of Europe's advertising department is totally concerned about getting people in United States of America to buy PSPs. Honestly, people are just taking these ads way out of proportion, and the parent post is clear evidence of it. Sony is not some giant evil corperation that'll do anything to sell a fucking console.

Re:Stepped up? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15706664)

I don't think that has anything to do with it. Maybe it had something to do with the ad installing a rootkit when being viewed on computers with tv tuners.

*rimshot*

Focused on one of three ads (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Maybe it's because they are yellow? (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 7 years ago | (#15706697)

The one race to rule them all! ;)

Re:Stepped up? (5, Insightful)

Dark Paladin (116525) | more than 7 years ago | (#15706699)

Of course not. Which is why when I was in Saudi I was told that Egyptians always steal, and Jews are out to kill Muslims.

And when I was in Kansas, I was told that the fact my sister-in-law had once dated a "nigger" was reason to be mad at her.

The fact is that racism, religiousism, whateverism is still alive and well in the world today - and it is *exactly* by pointing it out that you extinguish it. I hear people complain about "political correctness", and how its destroying things.

Of course, the counter argument, as Jon Stewart once pointed out, is that Thomas Jefferson used to fuck his slaves.

So every time you see someone do something that vaguely smacks of racism, you have to squash it, and squash it so hard so that the people who still believe in that crap are reminded that the rest of the world doesn't agree with them. When Congress doesn't want to renew the Civil Rights Voting act because they feel that the areas it targets aren't racist anymore, you get right in those people's faces and tell them "Oh yes it is", and then you show where voters are intimidated or have their names removed from voting lists by using criminal lists from other states.

Sony fucked up, and I don't care what country they do it in: they screwed the pooch big time. There were plenty of ways to show that the white PSP was coming - but to show a white woman subjigating a black woman

Oh, and for the "well, they have an ad showing a black woman beating up on a white one", you go through centuries of slavery, then more decades of racism, then continued glares from people who think that you're a thief just because you're black, or have problems registering to vote or get ticketed for "driving while black" and continued segregation of the schools, *then* tell me if you don't mind the black woman beating up the white one. That one was just as bad in my opinion, and just because you don't find it offensive doesn't mean that it wasn't.

Re:Stepped up? (1)

linvir (970218) | more than 7 years ago | (#15706783)

you go through centuries of slavery, then more decades of racism
Black people are immortal now?

Re:Stepped up? (2, Funny)

Tebriel (192168) | more than 7 years ago | (#15706892)

They have inside them blood of kings! They have no rivals!

Re:Stepped up? (3, Interesting)

ReverendLoki (663861) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:Stepped up? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15707019)

Wow. Your'e a moron. You're actually trying to justify racist views. Sucks to have been born 70 years too late, huh?

Re:Stepped up? (1)

PepeGSay (847429) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707119)

not one thing the poster said seeks to justify racists views. not one thing. the poster did say however that "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar."

Re:Stepped up? (1)

ReverendLoki (663861) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707476)

Thank you... that's an excellent summation. Dead on.

Re:Stepped up? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15707192)

This is stupid. What if the campaign were recreated, using just two white women, one wearing white and the other wearing black?

Well, then, there wouldn't be a problem then, now would there?

Jackass.

Re:Stepped up? (1)

ReverendLoki (663861) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707451)

Well, then, there wouldn't be a problem then, now would there?

My point is, there shouldn't be a problem now. I saw the ad, and somehow managed to not think in terms of two women of different races, but rather just two women with different skin colors. It shouldn't be any different than two women with different hair colors. If it were a blonde and a brunette, would you cry "Oppression Against Brunettes!"?

Re:Stepped up? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15706926)

show a white woman subjigating a black woman

Freudian slip? Or just a troll?

Re:Stepped up? (-1, Redundant)

Burlap (615181) | more than 7 years ago | (#15706968)

i may get a reduntant mod... but my hat's off to you

Re:Stepped up? (1)

kabocox (199019) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707121)

So every time you see someone do something that vaguely smacks of racism, you have to squash it, and squash it so hard so that the people who still believe in that crap are reminded that the rest of the world doesn't agree with them. When Congress doesn't want to renew the Civil Rights Voting act because they feel that the areas it targets aren't racist anymore, you get right in those people's faces and tell them "Oh yes it is", and then you show where voters are intimidated or have their names removed from voting lists by using criminal lists from other states.

But you are wrong. Almost everyone in the world except a very small percentage believes that foreginism/differentism is "Right and Proper." What people dislike are being targeted by "others" especially foreginers/differenters. You are "targetting" people who don't believe in the same prinicples that you do, which is normal. All humans are different and natively dislike anything unfamiliar to them. The more different you are or the more different types of thoughts that you provoke the more you will be disliked. It's a fact of human existance. We need to learn to live with it a bit better than pretending it doesn't exist.

Re:Stepped up? (2)

JayDot (920899) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707131)

[sarcasim]Oh, you're absolutely correct! The only way we are ever going to get those selfish bigots to stop being racist is to subject them to racism and see how they like it! [/sarcasim]

Sure, it's a dumb ad idea. But jumping on the company for "racist" imagery doesn't help stop racism. Nothing gets fixed by screaming "Racism, Racism" every time somebody gets offended by the recitation of "Eenie, meenie, miney, mo..." (Guess which word used to be in the place of tiger. That's right, 3 year olds can be racist too, apparently.). Here's a novel idea, one that I have observed in practice and found workable: when you see something that might, possible, just maybe be qualified as racist, don't give it the dignity of a response. And that goes both ways, for both the white person and the black, the man and the woman.

It's been 40 years since the 1960's, and there were a lot of proactive, integrationist folks alive then. The only reason I can see for racial tensions to still be causing problems is that there are people on both sides of the issue who want to be mad at someone. They want to have another group to blame for their own failures. Can't get a job? Must be because of all them colored people getting the jobs at lower wages, because it couldn't be that you're a lazy jerk that never worked an honest day in your life. Can't get promoted? Well, it must be that the big white "Man" is keeping you down, trying to put you back out in the fields, and it doesn't have anything to do with the fact that every time your projects are late it's someone else's fault.

Some of my best friends were of a completely different ethnic background or of the opposite gender of me. That didn't change the fact that we were still great friends. And you know what? we never had majority/minority problems because we simply didn't allow those kinds of things to become problems. It's time for the world to grow up, take some responsibility, and quit making excuses.

Re:Stepped up? (1)

Olix (812847) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707479)

That sounded really good up until the "Some of my best friends are Black!" bit. I know you didn't mean it like that, but it sounded silly none the less.

Re:Stepped up? (1)

linvir (970218) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707158)

You forgot to explain how the ad in question is racist.

Re:Stepped up? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15707242)

"So every time you see someone do something that vaguely smacks of racism...and just because you don't find it offensive doesn't mean that it wasn't."

No. This is a case of "offense".
There is a difference between offense and racism.
Racism is about intent; offense is about how actions are viewed and percieved.
And most sane people temper offense with ideas what was the intent in the first place.

Quote:

"California Assemblyman Leland Yee and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) denounced the ad campaign, speaking out against the message the ads conveyed whether intentional or not."

See the bold print, inentional or not? Sorry, but that is wrong. Mis-interpretation does not change the message or the intent. There is a difference between offense and racism.
You are confusing the two.

Re:Stepped up? (1)

phlegmofdiscontent (459470) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707390)

You know, your attitude is the same attitude showcased in "Fahrenheit 451", where anything that's the least bit upsetting to anyone MUST be "squashed". It's also the same kind of attitude that led thousands to riot over a dozen images of a prophet and led many others to protest over a crucifix in a jar of urine. I consider that attitude almost as bad as the attitude that one person is "better" than another person based upon their skin color.

Sure, the PSP ads are provocative. That's why they're so effective. Now EVERYONE knows about the PSP. And who knows, maybe, just maybe, it wasn't about black vs. white racial tension. Maybe it really WAS just about a dark-skinned person and a light-skinned person representing two colors for a product that was being marketed and people read into it too far.

There's a sometimes a fine line between advertisement and art, and a fine line between art and offensive, and everyone has their own idea of where those lines should fall. If we start banning things based on an arbitrary definition of acceptable vs. unacceptable, we'll soon find that line creeping up on us until we really do get the society depicted in "Fahrenheit 451".

The question we have to ask ourselves is whether we want to live in a society with freedom of expression and take the chance of being offended once in a while, or whether we want to live in a society where expression must be "approved" so as not to tread on anyone's delicate sensibilities.

Re:Stepped up? (1)

frodo from middle ea (602941) | more than 7 years ago | (#15706705)

How do you know, that this didn't affect the blacks in Holland ?

Europe also has a sizable african population you know, and they also had african slaves.

What is interesting is, who was stupid enought not to see that this would cause problems.

Re:Stepped up? (1)

StarvingSE (875139) | more than 7 years ago | (#15706964)

What is interesting is, who was stupid enought not to see that this would cause problems.

Sony marketing gurus, thats who. For the price of a handful of billboards in Amsterdam, their new product is getting worldwide media attention. Sony knew full well that the ads would create problems. In fact, they were hoping they would. Probably the only reason they released images where the black woman is beating on the white woman is to say "hey, see, we're not racist, you misunderstood our ad."

Sony was hoping people would make a stink about this, and it worked out quite well for them.

Re:Stepped up? (2)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 7 years ago | (#15706706)

This reminds me of an article I read about banning the words "master" and "slave" from being taught in colleges in reference to installing hard disk drives in a computer. What's next? Rename crackers to "salty carb sticks"?

Re:Stepped up? (1)

general scruff (938598) | more than 7 years ago | (#15706722)

I agree.

When you think about this for just a few moments, what harm is this really going to cause? So, you see a white lady holding a black ladies face. The way that people interpret that depends on how thier mind is already wired. If they think about the context, then, "Oh yeah, a white PSP is going to give the black one a run for its money!"

People need to get past the idea that "Racism isn't racism as long as you are being nice".

If you treat people Differently depending on thier color or race, that is racism. Why not stop making people prescribe to your oversensitive, and ultimately self-defeating philisophy and GET OVER IT!

Re:Stepped up? (2, Insightful)

MassEnergySpaceTime (957330) | more than 7 years ago | (#15706727)

The Internet is blurring the country lines.

Re:Stepped up? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15706860)

Pardon my ignorance, but how exactly can you interpret that ad in a way which doesn't play on the race conflict? Or do you think that it's OK to use a white vs. black racial theme to promote a game console and that people who take offense just need to lighten up?

Re:Stepped up? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15707293)

Yes, they do need to lighten up.

Re:Stepped up? (1)

ShyGuy91284 (701108) | more than 7 years ago | (#15706918)

I agree, this is so stupid. no company should be changing how they do business in a country the US doesn't have control over because we bitch.... and while on the topic of stuff that offends Americans, there is plenty of stuff in Japan that could probably be considered offensive in the US (mainly the glorification of young girls in sailor suits as "sexy"), but that doesn't mean they are preventing companies from using it as a cash cow because we don't agree with it.

Re:Stepped up? (1)

caffeinatedOnline (926067) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707347)

be considered offensive in the US (mainly the glorification of young girls in sailor suits as "sexy")

I don't know about you, but I am guessing that few, if any, of the /.'ers find offense in cute asian girls in sailor suits!

Re:Stepped up? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15706951)

So if Coca-Cola wanted to increase their sales in Afganistan and Iraq and decided to seek out well known insurgents to sponser their product you wouldn't have a problem with it? What if each of these ads included the number of American soldiers that had been killed by the insurgent?

Is that cool with you?

What about if it was a man standing over a woman and it had the caption "After beating your wife, enjoy a nice cold Coca-Cola"?

Would you tolerate that if it was in a different country?

The truth is that a corporations conscience (if it even has one) is displayed in it's actions when no one is looking or when they are put under pressure to do the wrong thing; whether or not the advertizement was offensive in the country it was released in, Sony's marketing drones must have recognized that it would be offensive through most of the developed nations in the world which still have significant racial problems. Whether a companies immoral action occurs in the United States or elsewhere in the world it is still is important here.

 

Re:Stepped up? (1)

CokeBear (16811) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707165)

The truth is that a corporations conscience (if it even has one) is displayed in it's actions

no. The truth is that corporations don't have a conscience. Morality is irrelevant to them, and all they can do is whatever they believe will maximize profit.

Goddammit (-1, Troll)

Golias (176380) | more than 7 years ago | (#15706595)

Don't make me RTFA just to see what TFA is about. Mention what was "controversial" about in the ad somwhere in the summary.

That's what the summaries are for, you see. To let people know whether reading the article is worth their time.

Sheesh!

Re:Goddammit (2, Informative)

Kevin_Peters (698630) | more than 7 years ago | (#15706633)

The billboard ads, which debuted last week in Holland, depicted a white woman forcefully grabbing the face of a black woman in a "racially charged" manner according the ad campaigns critics. Sony asserted that the ads were designed to show the contrast in colors between the original black PSP and the new Ceramic white PSP with "no other message or purpose."

Re:Goddammit (3, Informative)

(trb001) (224998) | more than 7 years ago | (#15706673)

Specifically, one of the ads (there were three) was deemed racially insensitive because it showed a white chick in a dominating position over a black chick. Example article with image here [gamespy.com] . What people haven't talked about so much is that there are two other ads; one with the black chick in a dominant position over the white chick, and one where they're on equal footing.

--trb

Re:Goddammit (5, Informative)

LocalH (28506) | more than 7 years ago | (#15706688)

It wasn't racist at all. Here's why:

Sony had three ads - one where a white woman was holding a black woman by the chin, one wherre the black woman was overpowering the white one, and one that looked more neutral. Of course, everyone screamed "racist", spread the news about the first one, but not the other two. It just took me five minutes to find a site that had the other images [joystiq.com] . If you go to Google News and search for "sony racist ad" you'll overwhelmingly see only the first image.

Re:Goddammit (1)

MassEnergySpaceTime (957330) | more than 7 years ago | (#15706767)

Mod parent up. This is the first time I have seen the other images in this "series", and when seen together, they tell a different story. I'm interested in seeing what the text is for the other ads.

Re:Goddammit (1)

dominion (3153) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707086)


The fact of the matter is that we can argue until we're blue in the face about whether these ads were "racist" or not.

But the fact that they were racially problematic is pretty much indisputable. As the above comment said, why would they use a black person and a white person? Why would they be fighting? Are they really so naive as to not recognize that, given the history of racism, colonialism, genocide, fascism, etc. that have preceded our current worldwide race relations, that presenting an ad which simulates violence between a black person and a white person might, I don't know, be kind of a bad idea?

Re:Goddammit (1)

Jakhel (808204) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707262)

And yet the other 2 images were not slapped on 30 foot billboards with the slogan "white is coming". I would rather have seen the 2nd image (the 2 facing off on equal grounds) than the first or last. It just makes more sense than having 2 women assaulting each other. I doubt these guys are racist, but they did make a pretty big boneheaded mistake.

P.S. why did they feel the need to personify the PSP with people in the first place? There are literally thousands of other ways to show the contrast of these 2 colors than using people. A good idea would have been to use an eclipse.

Re:Goddammit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15707468)

"It wasn't racist at all. Here's why:"

Here's a much simpler reason:
You can't be unintentionally racist.
You can unintentionally offend people.
There is a difference.
Offense does not redefine motive.

Great! (5, Funny)

9x320 (987156) | more than 7 years ago | (#15706612)

Now pull this one [vgcats.com] .

A Question (5, Insightful)

ggKimmieGal (982958) | more than 7 years ago | (#15706628)

How do people from the Netherlands feel about the advertisement? I'm more interested in their opinion than politically correct America. What was the reaction in the Netherlands?

Re:A Question (1)

PGC (880972) | more than 7 years ago | (#15706844)

First time I have even heard about these ads...

Re:A Question (3, Insightful)

F_Scentura (250214) | more than 7 years ago | (#15706889)

The only people who cared were the American "gaming media", which was itself limited to a bunch of blogs with more ire than common sense.

Re:A Question (1)

dominion (3153) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707141)

How do people from the Netherlands feel about the advertisement? I'm more interested in their opinion than politically correct America. What was the reaction in the Netherlands?

White people from the Netherlands or Black people from the Netherlands?

Re:A Question (1)

ggKimmieGal (982958) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707206)

White people from the Netherlands or Black people from the Netherlands?

See, when I said people, I meant any person who happens to live in the Netherlands. So to answer your question, any person of any color or background who lives in the Netherlands. Personally, I didn't think I needed to specify that though.

Re:A Question (1)

AlXtreme (223728) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707269)

Nobody here cared, it didn't even hit the main news. The only reason this ad was pulled was because America had a fit.

The interesting bit that is often not mentioned is that there were two versions, one where a white model held a black model by the throat, and one where the black model took the white model by the throat. I found both pretty decent (and the models aren't half-bad either), a pity I didn't see them irl (I do live in Amsterdam).

What I don't get is why Americans get pissed off by something like this, especially if it isn't in their own neighbourhood. You don't have to act like there aren't any differences between people, some people have blond hair and others have brown skin. It's just the way we are. Racial bias is only racial bias when you believe that one 'race' is better than another.

There's no reason to be hypersensitive about things like this. Live in Amsterdam for a few months and you'll know what a multicultural society really is like. Purist America: Grow up.

Re:A Question (1)

Danse (1026) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707478)

Nobody here cared, it didn't even hit the main news. The only reason this ad was pulled was because America had a fit.

Actually, only a very small percentage of Americans seemed to notice or care at all about this. Most people I've talked to about it seemed to think that only an idiot would consider the ads to be racist. Too bad that small group was able to make enough noise to get Sony to kill the ads.

Re:A Question (2, Insightful)

88NoSoup4U88 (721233) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707300)

Ugh, giving up my chance to mod this post [slashdot.org] down, but to hell with it:

Over here in the Netherlands, the ads had been running for some time, and there were no visible complaints anywhere. It's such a shame that the over-political correct people have to censor what -I- get to see... from -their- country. WTF ?

As this post [slashdot.org] points out, there's an equal one where one black woman is, (less agressively, I will admit that) attacking the white woman on the floor.
Why does that, conveniently, gets pulled from the reports/complaints?

Not that we don't have our own problems over here (currently, people from Marocco/Turkey have been bigger targets of racism, probably partly due to 9/11), but the black/white-issue is -much- more apparent in US society, than it ever has been in the Netherlands: So I find it hard to swallow that Sony will budge after getting complaints from another country.

Even worse about this all is that the definition of 'racism' is getting stretched, and is losing much of its effectiveness. Before I know I will be put on trial for putting a dot with a black marker on a sheet of white paper.

Politically correctness zealot : "Don't you people see he is depicting how the black people are surrounded - opressed by all the white around it ? If this isn't racism, then what is?!"

Re:A Question (2, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707521)

One of the problems with being a global mega corporation in this well connected post-nafta, post-EU, post-APEC world is that it is no longer suffecient to merely worry about the advertising effect in one region. Any piece of advertising, any action whatever, is likely to leak worldwide very quickly. The very things that make the international mega corporation possible is the thing that makes the inadvertant blunders escalate to international levels.

As many will quickly realize, this makes the advertising of the international mega corportation very banal. Which is only to be expected because in order to market to such a disparate group, many of the products must also be banal. But that is the compromise. In order to support the overhead and ineffeciencies inherent in the mega-corporation, a company like sony has to sell to nearly every person in the developed world. Sony's success depend on not pissing any of us off too much, so we will at least buyt something. And at least some of the products have to be generic enough so we can buy it. This does not mean that risks cannot be taken, but they must be careful.

Unlike many here, Sony seems to realize this and took the appropriate action. It is unlikely that any harm was intended. They saw an international problem, and solved it. Good for them. As far as those who feel sorry for sony, it is thier choice. If they were local, they would not have to deal with the international community. But they want the money, so they must make the deals, and live with the consequences.

Deliberate (4, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 7 years ago | (#15706687)

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:Deliberate (2, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#15706952)

In retrospect, no matter what their motives or realizations were, I f*cking hate marketing and all forms of it.

Yeah, same here.

I guarantee you that despite whatever appology the PR flak gave, their marketing department is throwing a fucking party right now. This ad is nothing but a success for them.

Re:Deliberate (1)

jitterysquid (913188) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707002)

You just thought about the advertisement long enough to write a half a page of text about it. The advertising and marketing vermin are all high-fiving each other. Face it, they've perfected their "art". All we can do is try to ignore it.

Re:Deliberate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15707027)

Judge [gamespy.com] for yourself [sfgate.com] .

Re:Deliberate (1)

Prog_Burner (663126) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707062)

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.
Wouldn't it be cool if they did fight each other?

I must point this out as well, sorry:
Why did they pick humans? The humans are supposed to represent PSPs, an inate object?
I'm assuming you mean "inanimate" or possibly "inane", I read it both ways and that's probably why it caught my eye. Unless you really do think that the PSP has the in-born tendencies of an object, in which case, I deeply apologize.

Re:Deliberate (1)

rcamera (517595) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707073)

Put a black demon and a white angel in the image

i am highly offended by your reference of 'black demons' and 'white angels'. is was clearly meant as a racist remark. i heard of a group in the deep south that ran around wearing pillow covers over their head that thought of demons as black and angels as white. [godwin]i believe there was also a group in germany that thought along the same lines[/godwin]... perhaps the media should cover your racist statement and someone can submit ths story to slashdot.

don't you just love when people overreact for the sake of overreacting?

Sony had no reason to pull those ads. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15706691)

They targetted the ads for a very specific area, and that area doesn't seem to the be the area that is throwing a hissy fit over it.
This is just a PR move, through and through, even if the apology is slightly bitter.

Artwork in ad should match artwork in game (0, Offtopic)

Animats (122034) | more than 7 years ago | (#15706702)

It's time to take the position that if the ad or the box has better art than the game does, it's false advertising. There's no excuse today for bad in-game art, and games now generate HDTV resolution output, so if the box or ad has better art, it's willfully deceptive.

Now if that scene of the white girl giving the black girl a hard time had been in the game, the picture would have been fine. It would fit well into, say, the next generation of GTA.

(This got me thinking. Very few games today allow players to touch. We don't have good wrestling games, or martial arts throws, or football pileups. You can hit other players, but can't shake their hand. Or hand them something. Or cooperate in carrying something. Yet collision detection and motion planning technology is good enough to do that now. Something to work on.)

Re:Artwork in ad should match artwork in game (1)

onlysolution (941392) | more than 7 years ago | (#15706897)

I think you missed something here. The ads in question were ads for the PSP system itself, particularly the introduction of "I wish we were as popular as iPods" white PSP.

here comes the apologists... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15706720)

I love the people saying that the critics of this ad are overly sensitive.

Nothing more ridiculous than a bunch of white people sitting around agreeing that there aren't any problems with racism anymore.

Tell you what. Take a black guy and stand him next to a tall tree, and then take a white guy and stand him next to a medium-sized tree, and then take an Asian guy and stand him next to a shrub. Plausible deniability allows you to say this has nothing to do with anything but people and the earth's vegetation, but who is not going to read something into that?

Take it one step further. Look at how white people have basically shit all over black people over the centuries. Now you've got an ad with a white person grabbing a black person threateningly by the jaw.

Art does not exist without context.

Re:here comes the apologists... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15707053)

"Art does not exist without context."

It's a shame you're too unbelievably retarded to understand the context of this entire campaign.

Sony pulls out (1)

drewzhrodague (606182) | more than 7 years ago | (#15706738)

Interesting move. I can see that the advertisement is quite harmless (read: I don't give a shit what color their ads/devices are). I wonder what products are going to cost more to cover this move? What other advertising misfires will we be subjected to? I've already writen off Sony products, though I have been enjoying my PS2 (still!).

I for one... (2, Insightful)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 7 years ago | (#15706739)

think people need to lighten up. This is another case of pulling the race card when race was not involved. While Sony should have seen it coming an never released the ad; the reaction of various racial organizations was to over-react. What if the ad had a black woman grabbing the face of a white woman? I bet nobody would be bothered by that right?

Re:I for one... (1)

F_Scentura (250214) | more than 7 years ago | (#15706907)

"What if the ad had a black woman grabbing the face of a white woman? I bet nobody would be bothered by that right?"

People conveniently ignored the rest of the campaign to run around pointing the "racist" stick.

Re:I for one... (1)

hrrY (954980) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707030)

think people need to lighten up. This is another case of pulling the race card when race was not involved.

This is another case of pulling the *master* card...

While Sony should have seen it coming an never released the ad;

Your right, they shouldn't have...

the reaction of various racial organizations was to over-react.

What happens in the netherlands should stay in the netherlands, all the same, I would have LOVED to have seen that ad on 125th st. and Lennox ave...

What if the ad had a black woman grabbing the face of a white woman? I bet nobody would be bothered by that right?

I believe they have one of those to, but I find that imagery just as disturbing...did they even HAVE a PSP on any of those ads? do the math.
oh and you should cancel your master card account before the interest gets to high...
It almost seems that African americans have to enforce the standards of fair and equal treatment towards colored folk all over the world, to some odd effect(s). Although I think we should observe more before we implement action's, there is something of a social phenomenon over there.
start hating in 3,2,1...

Re:I for one... (1)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707305)

This is another case of pulling the race card when race was not involved

The ad campaign specifically drew attention to a struggle between two people, one with fair skin and one with dark skin. How can you claim "race was not involved"?

The ad may not be RACIST, but it is indisputably RACIAL.

This just in... (2, Funny)

Rendo (918276) | more than 7 years ago | (#15706748)

Nintendo has just released the Rainbow coloured DS Lite. It was heard that they are a multicultural hand-held company and won't make the same mistakes Sony has.

OT: /. slashdots /. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15706790)

i spotted this when it had 2 replies. by the time i tried to submit a reply, all those 1:40/41/45/46pm replies hit - mine never did make it ... well, that one, anyway ...

Score One For The Marketing Types (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15706810)

Looks like the PSP marketing types earned their pay this month.

Create cheap but 'controversial' add campaign - just a photography session and a couple models - CHECK

Let the 'storm' brew for a short while - CHECK

'Pull' the adds in response to the 'outcry' - CHECK

Sit back and enjoy the massive publicity for your product - CHECK

Love it! It's like watching a baseball game - walk, bunt runner to second, single scoring the runner - repeat.

Those DS fans out there screaming about Japan sales better double check the worldwide sales numbers for PSP vs DS...And with the PS3 coming out being able to broadcast stream movies and music to your PSP over wireless and all sorts of other media features come November...

Re:Score One For The Marketing Types (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15707188)

When I bought my DS Lite last weekend I had to look at several stores before I found it in stock (it was their last system). When I asked whether the shipment was that small I got the answer "No! Nintendo has been constantly restocking us. The problem is that the DS Lite has outsold all other systems combined."

Now, my experience is just an isolated event but from early reports that are comming out it doesn't sound all that isolated.

Its all viral marketing for junkies (2, Interesting)

BluePariah (987431) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:Its all viral marketing for junkies (1)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707485)

"All they want is the new Pokemon Digi-farm 2007 Gold Extra Special Photo Pack 12."

which is why they buy a DS. ; ) . I partly agree with you but they are shooting themselves in the foot with this one... people really are frightened of being called racist (I think that this has caused us to still see nothing but the colour and not the person). If it makes me seem racist would I buy a PSP, even if I did want one? it would make me think twice (well, it wouldn't, but it's part of my point). A lot of people are hyper sensitive on this issue... why not just have an ad with homosexuals in it, especially lesbians, thats shocking, people will keep watching, you don't have to be too shy about it... hardcore lesbian sex seems to be the answer!

Malice & Stupidity (3, Interesting)

Cleon (471197) | more than 7 years ago | (#15706938)

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:Malice & Stupidity (1)

oahazmatt (868057) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707331)

I agree with you that this was most likely just something that no one had considered might be seen as offensive.

For example, a co-worker of mine designed an ad for a massage therapist. The ad used artwork from our purchased library of a woman, face down on a table, getting a shoulder rubbed by a very strong hand.

In order to make room for new copy, the picture was cropped. The customer decided to fade out the portion that had the head and some miscellaneous background. The ad was approved, it ran, and no one saw a problem with it. No employees, that is.

A customer, a few, very irate customers, called and questioned our integrity. After sorting through accusations, we realized what the cropped photo looked like. Instead of looking like a women getting a massage, it looked like a man doing a bad bad thing with a young girl.

And why did no employees notice this? Because everyone who had seen the ad had also seen it beforehand. We knew what the artwork was.

If Sony had seen the evolution of the campaign, been in discussion with it during the beginning, it is quite possible those involved simply did not perceive it the same way a random passer-by might. What they saw as an elegant expression of arrival and two females expressing the sleek and smooth contours of the device, someone else saw as an expression of racism. That's it.

However, Sony did apparently use an agency that loves "disruptive imagery", so who knows if it was an oversight on the agency's part at all.

Some day maybe (1)

27,000 (987534) | more than 7 years ago | (#15706947)

humankind will be able to look at that advertisement and see 'new white PSP coming soon'. Everyone who complained the image was racist, oops - you're accidentally racist. Pointing and screaming at these things extends the institution's life. Ad agencies and visual artists will be doubly careful to use the right races in the right way as long as this incident is in the public mind, which is discrimantory itself. At this rate combining ethnicities will be risky for decades to come - as long as someone is willing to shout that, maybe, someone else could be offended or someone else might harm another race if they see this. In short: Sony's ads could potentially be considered racist, depending on the viewer's background and mindset. Crying about what that white person is doing to that black person is definitely racist. We aren't working very hard to truly 'erase racism' (as if whining about consumer ads was the place to start).

Of course Sony, famously out of toes left to shoot, could have exercised more discretion.

Humor is: white Americans in America complaining about Dutch advertisements featuring black people in the Netherlands. Police the world, much?

About Sex... (3, Insightful)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707003)

Seriously, the ads were about sex, not violence. I know not everyone would find the models in the ads attractive, but they were supposed to be. The Ads were supposed to be titillating, not racially charged. Seriously, if you look at other, similar Ads (i.e. models posing and "doing stuff"), you'll see the same thing.

Once, a few years ago, they had some ad with a really attractive woman shaving her face with some new razor, saying, "ooh, is this the sensitive part... poor baby." Obviously, the purpose of the ad wasn't the shaving (or they would have some gruff, bearded man shaving).

So, all the controversy? It was about people totally not getting the ads.

Re:About Violent Sex, actually... (2, Interesting)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707209)

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.

most stupid place to see racism yet (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707061)

The only possibly racist thign about those ads was that the woman had an afro, then again maybe afros are popualr among black european women.

Minced words (2, Funny)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707273)

From Rick Callendar, president of the San Jose NAACP.. "Their attempt to contrast colors clearly created controversy and sparked painful feelings in the global community."

My socks never match each other. Should I steer clear of this guy?

The right thing for Sony to do... (1)

macdaddy (38372) | more than 7 years ago | (#15707292)

...would have been to tell the people bitching and moaning to grow up or shut the hell up. Seriously Sony needs to grow a backbone.
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