I may not be in the advertising business, but I still feel qualified to say that Rule #1 in advertising should be: Do Not Make People Feel Sick to Their Stomachs, For They May Turn Away in Revulsion.
Check out the trailer for a little game called Slavery: The Game:
"Buy slaves! Discipline them! Exploit them!"
Check out the weapons you may use to accomplish this discipline and exploitation:
Controversy has steadily built since the game was previewed on youtube, until finall the people responsible stated the true intent of the game.
Just when you think we've hit the nadir of good taste, we learn that it's an ad for a tv program! An ad designed to "raise awareness for a documentary series airing on Dutch TV," according to The Independent.
So now, the game's website prominently displays "this is not a real game." Cause that makes it more appropriate, of course.
The problem is, as the youtube comments make dreadfully clear, there is actually an audience for this sort of gameplay. It won't be long before some enterprising gamemaker sees an opportunity for a quick buck and turns this game into reality.
Did the trailer at least fulfill its basic job of getting people to watch the documentary? I know that by discussing it here, I am helping it go viral. But as to whether it garners eyeballs? We'll find out next week.
But to me, this method of advertising basically suggests that the documentary will treat the issue of colonial slavery with the same delicacy as this trailer does. Which is to say, with all the subtlety of a spiked club.