Hey Ubisoft, ZombiU’s Sexist Ad Really Grinds My Gears
Is it even necessary to sell the game? No.
Ubisoft is one of my personal favorite game publishers, and that shouldn't come as a surprise given their strong output of good games—with recent titles like Assassin's Creed 3 and Far Cry 3 taking up most, if not all of my gaming time in recent weeks.
Thus far, they've made nothing but classy ads that reflect (relatively) well upon their games, often reflecting the original material positively and accurately, to a degree scarcely captured by other game publishers. Say what you will about the dark themes of Far Cry 3, but its ads—which feature the actor, Michael Mando, who portrays Vaas in the game—are exactly the same as the game in their tone. They don't portray the game as anything other than what it is.
It makes me disappointed to write that Ubisoft UK's marketing of the very excellent zombie survival horror game ZombiU for the WiiU diverges from the publisher's practice of putting out good ads by attempting to pander to gamers, lazily, with an ad laden with ironic sexism. As @Mar_Lard said to me on Twitter, "Ironic sexism is still sexism." And so it is.
The ad depicts a large-breasted woman in her lingerie in the process of removing her top, on one page, with the words "SHE'S GOT A BODY TO DIE FOR." There's a caption at the bottom that reads "WANNA SEE IT?", encouraging the reader to flip over to the next page.
The next page contains a picture of the same woman, zombified to hell and back by makeup and photoshop filters to look like a crazed living corpse with blood on her hands and drying wounds under the caption "WE DID WARN YOU."
For a game that can very easily sell on its own merits, I have to question whether it was ever necessary for Ubisoft UK to create such a sexually charged ad for the game. They say "sex sells", but why would you ever use sex to sell a game that has next to nothing to do with sex at all?
Maybe it's about time we exercised our creative muscles to put together an ad instead of vomiting out an ad with breasts in it to sell something completely unrelated.