So, you’re a game development studio who just released a game with a lead character that assassinates people. How do you go about promoting such a thing? Do you roll out traditional advertisements on print and television? How about a viral marketing campaign? Or, would you prefer a Facebook game which lets users of the stie send insults and threatening videos to their friends?
Square Enix teamed with advertising agency Ralph to create a Facebook-based app to promote Hitman: Absolution; it launched earlier today. Here’s the gist of the app: Pick a specific Facebook friend you’d like to insult, choose from a list of pre-recorded insults (a few of them were racy, body part-related snaps) that you feel they’re worthy of receiving and then send them a video clip it creates. Some have referred to this creation as a “game,” but I feel it doesn’t really qualify as that.
In this age of cyber-bullying, the Hitman app was obviously destined for a controversial reception. Square Enix caught on to this a few hours after it was released and pulled it from the site. “We were wide of the mark with the app,” reads a statement from the developer, “and following feedback from the community we decided the best thing to do was remove it completely and quickly.”
Were you the recipient of a Hitman: Absolution-branded threat? If so, how did it make you feel?