Square Enix Invents Horribly Insulting Facebook Promotion for Hitman: Absolution, Subsequently Apologizes

Posted by Alex (2179 posts) -
Image credit due to Rock, Paper, Shotgun, who captured this thing before it got shut down.

Oh Hitman: Absolution, you are too good of a game to have been as terribly marketed as you have been. I'm sure we all remember the Agent 47 kills sexy nuns for some reason trailer debacle from earlier this year, and now Square Enix has a new poorly-thought-out campaign to make amends for, which it already began doing within hours of anyone noticing it.

The concept in question was Square Enix's delightfully death-threat-laden Hire Hitman campaign for Facebook users. In the campaign, those with Facebook accounts could essentially craft a custom death threat for any Facebook user it saw fit. Okay, so that's generally awkward enough on its own, except that it also came with a remarkably offensive series of traits one could use to identify their "targets," and reasons for elimination. You could identify targets by noting their "tiny penis" or "small tits," and then decide they should die because they have "terrible taste in music" or for cheating on their partner. Lovely.

For its part, Rock, Paper, Shotgun has already pretty well covered the emotional spectrum one might feel when first learning of such a reprehensibly ill-conceived...thing. And within a breath of their story going up, Square Enix pulled the app, releasing an apologetic, if perhaps unnecessarily punny statement that read, in part, "We were wide of the mark with the app and following feedback from the community we decided the best thing to do was remove it completely and quickly. This we’ve now done."

So, Square Enix did a stupid, offensive thing, then realized it did a stupid, offensive thing and pulled it. That's great, though I am still left bewildered and wondering how this made it past the chain of approvals in the first place. Who looks at a Facebook app where you can call people out for their regrettable genitalia (among other insulting things) and threaten them with (fictional) murder, and says, "Yes! This is the direction our marketing campaign needs!"

Someone who probably shouldn't be in charge of marketing products anymore, that's who.

Staff
#1 Posted by Alex (2179 posts) -
Image credit due to Rock, Paper, Shotgun, who captured this thing before it got shut down.

Oh Hitman: Absolution, you are too good of a game to have been as terribly marketed as you have been. I'm sure we all remember the Agent 47 kills sexy nuns for some reason trailer debacle from earlier this year, and now Square Enix has a new poorly-thought-out campaign to make amends for, which it already began doing within hours of anyone noticing it.

The concept in question was Square Enix's delightfully death-threat-laden Hire Hitman campaign for Facebook users. In the campaign, those with Facebook accounts could essentially craft a custom death threat for any Facebook user it saw fit. Okay, so that's generally awkward enough on its own, except that it also came with a remarkably offensive series of traits one could use to identify their "targets," and reasons for elimination. You could identify targets by noting their "tiny penis" or "small tits," and then decide they should die because they have "terrible taste in music" or for cheating on their partner. Lovely.

For its part, Rock, Paper, Shotgun has already pretty well covered the emotional spectrum one might feel when first learning of such a reprehensibly ill-conceived...thing. And within a breath of their story going up, Square Enix pulled the app, releasing an apologetic, if perhaps unnecessarily punny statement that read, in part, "We were wide of the mark with the app and following feedback from the community we decided the best thing to do was remove it completely and quickly. This we’ve now done."

So, Square Enix did a stupid, offensive thing, then realized it did a stupid, offensive thing and pulled it. That's great, though I am still left bewildered and wondering how this made it past the chain of approvals in the first place. Who looks at a Facebook app where you can call people out for their regrettable genitalia (among other insulting things) and threaten them with (fictional) murder, and says, "Yes! This is the direction our marketing campaign needs!"

Someone who probably shouldn't be in charge of marketing products anymore, that's who.

Staff
#2 Edited by Pudge (886 posts) -

COOL

EDIT: I've been waiting so long for this day, and then I just get it randomly! I'd like to thank the academy, mom and dad, the flying spaghetti monster, and all the little people who've made this possible!

#3 Posted by xMEGADETHxSLY (446 posts) -

WOW

#4 Posted by NeoCalypso (171 posts) -

that seems beyond dumb.

#5 Posted by davo (141 posts) -

Maybe they should just...stop.

#6 Posted by joeshock (16 posts) -

It's a shame such a good game is being screwed over like this.

#7 Posted by Chop (1999 posts) -

This sounds amazing; I love you, insane marketing.

#8 Posted by RE_Player1 (7560 posts) -

Who's bright idea was to make that? At least Square responded quickly and took it down.

#9 Posted by JasonR86 (9710 posts) -

This is too stupid for me to be that offended. But Jesus Christ guys. What the fuck were you thinking?

#10 Posted by year199X (65 posts) -

Wow was this seriously a thing? How could this EVER be considered a good idea?

#11 Posted by Tsai (96 posts) -

I can only imagine what marketing they have for Tomb Raider next year :/

#12 Posted by Link43130 (42 posts) -

So lame this got pulled. You win again over sensitive PC kids!

#13 Posted by mrfluke (5164 posts) -

yikes

#14 Posted by Aviar (436 posts) -

Sounds like someone deserves a promotion at Square Enix!

#15 Posted by believer258 (11928 posts) -

Perfect fucking timing.

#16 Posted by DeathByWaffle (636 posts) -

WUT

How could the people in charge think that was totally ok? Just baffling.

#17 Posted by ProfessorEss (7382 posts) -

@JasonR86 said:

This is too stupid for me to be that offended. But Jesus Christ guys. What the fuck were you thinking?

lol, that's exactly what I was thinking.

#18 Posted by Animasta (14692 posts) -

@TekZero said:

I put out a hit on my wife. Now she won't like my posts anymore. #firstworldproblems

death threats aren't exactly the height of comedy dude.

#19 Posted by ll_Exile_ll (1709 posts) -

@TekZero: This whole "first world problems" thing is really getting tiring. It's become just an excuse for assholes to dismiss everything rather than engage in legitimate discussion.

#20 Posted by mordukai (7153 posts) -

Could they just run the same ad campaign they had for blood money. That one was very well executed. Sorry I mean to say Exzecuable.

#21 Posted by Grillbar (1842 posts) -

look the hole trailer killing nuns debacle was stupid, they were not nuns they were dressed sorta like nuns. like a halloween s/m nun dress more or less and people overreacted in the most stupid way over something so far from what they were claiming. at least that how i see it.

but this...

this is just some marketing thinking they were edgy. but its tasteless in so many ways imo

#22 Posted by iAmJohn (6120 posts) -

Clearly this article was only written as a cover for Alex to air his tiny penis insecurities!

#23 Posted by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -

Hopefully those in charge of sacking are also sacked as the non-apology issued by Square-Enix makes it clear that they have no idea that they did anything wrong.

From the RPS article:

“Earlier today we launched an app based around Hitman: Absolution that allowed you to place virtual hits on your Facebook friends. Those hits would only be viewable by the recipient and could only be sent to people who were confirmed friends.
We were wide of the mark with the app and following feedback from the community we decided the best thing to do was remove it completely and quickly. This we’ve now done.
We’re sorry for any offence caused by this.”
#24 Posted by JasonR86 (9710 posts) -

@iAmJohn said:

Clearly this article was only written as a cover for Alex to air his tiny penis insecurities!

...I guess he's upset about that death threat I sent him.

#25 Posted by The_Nubster (2155 posts) -

@Link43130 said:

So lame this got pulled. You win again over sensitive PC kids!

Yeah, how else am I going to make fun of people's penis size on the internet! Gosh, everyone who hates this is such a whiner! I just want to insult people and then threaten them with death, especially on a website that's used by everyone from children to businessmen and everyone in between! How else will people know how hilarious I am, aside from killing someone who listens to Justin Beebz?

But really, is this your idea of a good way to spend time? Maybe it's time to take a step back and look at the words you're saying. There's a time and a place for idiocy, and this was neither of those, on top of being devoid of creativity and terribly un-funny.

#26 Posted by Encephalon (1262 posts) -

I have no words.

#27 Posted by mandude (2669 posts) -

Hahaha, I'll go against the grain here and say that this is fucking awesome.

#28 Posted by Commisar123 (1793 posts) -

So that's not okay

#29 Posted by adamazing (78 posts) -

"Someone who probably shouldn't be in charge of marketing products anymore, that's who."

Exactly.

#30 Posted by Hameyadea (348 posts) -

Lovely!

#31 Posted by Jaytow (694 posts) -

i am not, at all, insulted by this. It's fuckin great.

#32 Posted by wrecks (2260 posts) -

I think someone was just sick of their job and wanted to collect unemployment.

Online
#33 Posted by louiedog (2335 posts) -

We're all talking about it. Maybe the plan was to put up a stupid facebook ap for an hour and then watch as the stories dominated the gaming news day. I mean, no one is dumb enough to think that people were going to embrace this, right?

#34 Posted by NMC2008 (1237 posts) -

Oh goddamnit Giant Bomb, you're just as gullible as NeoGAF, this was clearly a marketing ploy to get people talking, I mean come on!!! Now you're talking about it after it pretty much dropped off the radar, mission accomplished. *thumbs up Square*

I wonder who's next to reel in the gullible masses, will it be irrational? Rockstar? or maybe even Square again, come on folks, stop being so outraged at every single fucking thing.

#35 Posted by Rocospi (263 posts) -

I guess this shows that, once again, you don't really need to be intelligent to land a job.

You just need connections and a little bit of luck.

#36 Posted by FunkasaurasRex (847 posts) -

Jesus

#37 Posted by Demoskinos (14851 posts) -
@Tsai

I can only imagine what marketing they have for Tomb Raider next year :/

Boob Mouse Pads ahoy!
#38 Posted by Toug (315 posts) -

H- how? How? How. HOW? Hoooooooow.

The world "how" has now lost meaning.

Online
#39 Edited by Colourful_Hippie (4354 posts) -

Wow, how fucking stupid can that marketing team get?

#40 Posted by Deusx (1905 posts) -

This... I can't believe someone actually thought this was a good idea! This is the worst!

#41 Posted by Alex (2179 posts) -

@NMC2008: If this was a ploy to get people talking, it's a remarkably short-sighted one. Everyone will forget about this in a couple of days, and those that do remember will just have a bitter taste in their mouth.

There is such a thing as bad publicity, believe it or not.

Staff
#42 Posted by Crelio (91 posts) -

Great, another great app gone.

Online
#43 Posted by WinterSnowblind (7617 posts) -

@NMC2008: Considering everything that's being done about sexism in gaming at the moment, the only thing stupider than running an campaign like this, would be if they actually did it on purpose.

#44 Posted by KittyVonDoom (445 posts) -

@NMC2008 said:

I wonder who's next to reel in the gullible masses, will it be irrational? Rockstar? or maybe even Square again, come on folks, stop being so outraged at every single fucking thing.

Everybody and their dog knows GTA 1982908 and BioShock 3: Back To The Well are both amazing games already because the trailers say so!!!!! GOTYs!!!

#45 Posted by Excast (936 posts) -

What kind of coke party was going on over a Square Enix when this thing was created and put into place?
 
I mean, first you need someone dumb enough to think of it. 
You then need people in management positions agreeing that it is a good idea.
And then you need employees actually creating this campaign and putting it up.
 
And during this entire process, nobody thought "Hey, this is fucking insane."  ?  Kind of a condemnation of the company really.

#46 Posted by RandomInternetUser (6789 posts) -

Welp, that was an incredibly stupid thing to do.

#47 Posted by Tylea002 (2295 posts) -

I just... I can't believe we live in a world where this was a) allowed to happen and b) is being defended by some people.

Man.

#48 Posted by SirPsychoSexy (1329 posts) -

How the fuck did anyone think this was a good idea.

#49 Posted by Mr_Skeleton (5144 posts) -

Marketing people are stupid.

#50 Posted by Mento (2550 posts) -

@Tsai: "Select which of your female Facebook friends YOU'D most like to protect from harm and we'll send you a free DLC code!"

What happened to the people responsible for marketing former Eidos properties? In my day, all they did was lean on internet editorial sites until they fired employees for giving their games bad reviews. None of this reprehensible bullshit.

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