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Old 07-06-2006, 07:51 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Sony "racist" advertising

Sony just launched a new ad campaign for its new ceramic white PSP in Holland which depicts, in different billboards, the violent clashing of a white and a black woman:







The campaign has started racist accusations against Sony, and for the time, the ads have been removed from the official Dutch PSP site.
Personally, i don't think their racist, i think they're very bad ads in the sense that they imply, one way or another, that either black or white PSPs are better than the other (the kicking ass message is very clear i think), which is not the case as they have the same exact specs except for the color.
I know that is possible that i don't see any racist connotations in the ads 'cause i'm from Guatemala, and slavery between whites and blacks was inexistant, however, i can see how some people may feel offended by them. Anyway, i know that the racial issue is a big thing almost everywhere else but i can't stop thinking as well that many people is oversensitive and narrow sighted when it comes to this issues.
I recall an episode from South Park in which Chef wants the town's flag to be changed as it is racist (it depicts what seems to be 4 guys hanging a black guy) and the childs are against the change because they beleive that murder is part of human and Soth Park's history. The childs never saw skin colors in the guys in the flag, they saw humans killing another human, this pretty much sums what i feel about racism and laws that try to protect blacks, gays, woman, etc..., i beleive that its this laws and this narrow sighted appreciation of things that are racist.
We are all humans and equal in rights and obligations, whenever you start making laws or giving a different treatment to what is perceived as the "weak" side, there is where racism, and biggotry starts.
Discuss...

(keep in mind that english is not my first language, so excuse me for my writing)
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Last edited by ironman; 07-06-2006 at 12:51 PM..
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Old 07-06-2006, 09:05 AM   #2 (permalink)
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It's a good idea for an ad, just not that well thought through with regards to its implimentation...
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Old 07-06-2006, 09:14 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Is that upside-down cross in the white chick's cleavage meaningful in any way? Seems Satanic to me, but I'm not up on that sort of thing.
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Old 07-06-2006, 09:26 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Upside down crosses aren't satanic symbols.

In regards to the racism? I think it's just a bad advertisement that's been misconstrued and it's now being blown out of proportion.
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Old 07-06-2006, 09:46 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Yeah, I don't think it's racist so much as it's poorly thought out. Regardless, Sony doesn't want bad press; the ads will go away and the ad exec who came up with it will look for a new job.
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Old 07-06-2006, 10:00 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorade Frost
Upside down crosses aren't satanic symbols.
Yes and no.
Quote:
The reversed cross, also known as the cross of St. Peter, has also been used as an emblem of Satanism, although more often by non-satanists than believers. Historically, it has been a symbol of humility, a symbol of Martyred St. Peter's refusal to be crucified in the manner of Christ, preferring to be hung upside down.

Today, the symbol of an upturned cross may symbolize an opposition to Christian dogma, a concept borrowed from Christian writers who mistook the emblem of Peter for an anti-Christian symbol- a bit of a self fulfilling prophecy!

The inverted cross is also an esoteric symbol of reversal, and is related to the 12th key of the tarot, the hanged man.
It's probably that last one - "reversal". Sony was thinking way too hard on this, and missed the forest for the trees.
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Old 07-06-2006, 10:01 AM   #7 (permalink)
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It's just a crappy, poorly-thought-out ad.

That and it's Holland. This type of thing just doesn't have the gravity there that it might here. Feelings on black-white racism are different there.
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Old 07-06-2006, 10:06 AM   #8 (permalink)
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It's a pretty straightforward ad. I don't see any harm in it. I mean look at the last picture. It shows a balance. You know what's funny? If Apple had released this ad.. it would have been considered brilliant.
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Old 07-06-2006, 10:08 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guccilvr
It's a pretty straightforward ad. I don't see any harm in it. I mean look at the last picture. It shows a balance. You know what's funny? If Apple had released this ad.. it would have been considered brilliant.

They would probably have had to reverse it for the iPod to the U2 iPod, then again later for the U2 iPod and for the iPod video. And it probably would have made more sense since Apple's iPod a little more widely used than the PSP as far as I know.
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Old 07-06-2006, 10:19 AM   #10 (permalink)
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It's only racist if you take it completely out of context.
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Old 07-06-2006, 10:28 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I think the ads are well done and accomplish the job of getting our attention. Some people will see racism if they are looking for it but I wouldn't have even considered these racist if others hadn't mentioned it. Kind of like the old westerns where the good guy wears the white hat.
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Old 07-06-2006, 10:32 AM   #12 (permalink)
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They should have had the white chick wearing a white PSP around her neck like bling to bring home the point that it's PSP and all that... Would have been more eye catching and would have allayed the racial comments since, well, it's clearly a white PSP on there and you see it without reading the advertisement.
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Old 07-06-2006, 10:34 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Yeah, I don't really see a problem here.
Oh, and she's not wearing an upside down cross. It's just a long dangling strand from her necklace that's perpendicular to the strap of her white bikini top.

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Old 07-06-2006, 10:34 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Well, they got media attention, that's for sure.

Sometimes I think these 'bad ideas' are done with purpose. The ad has gotten more attention than if there had been no controversy.
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Old 07-06-2006, 04:07 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kadath
Yeah, I don't think it's racist so much as it's poorly thought out. Regardless, Sony doesn't want bad press; the ads will go away and the ad exec who came up with it will look for a new job.
I think the advertising executive that came up with this will be getting a nice new office, new parking space, and an increased paycheck. His job has been successful, catch the public's eye and get attention.
With everybody talking about the racism, they mention the Sony releasing a white PSP.

Job well done.
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Old 07-06-2006, 08:34 PM   #16 (permalink)
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who cares?
psp sucks ass anyway. i own one, and almost never touch it. games are ok, but just blah for the most part. IMO if this is what it takes for sony to bring the psp out of the nds' shadow of recent popularity, then they've done their job well. the ad has place sony in the spotlight, though a very hot one. i don't think the ad is racist, but then again anything can mean whatever you want it to if you look hard enouh.
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Old 07-06-2006, 08:43 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I think it's a very successful ad campaign. It has already drawn huge attention, and likely will continue to as long as the ads are in the public eye.

It will also be very interesting to see the reactions of those overly sensitive to racism when they see one of the ads in isolation, promptly "jump on it," and then are refuted with the other ad, that turns the tables.

It is for this reason that I consider the campaign to be brilliant. Not only did Sony stir the waters by presenting a racial theme, they did it from both sides, thus protecting themselves while also promoting their product at the same time.
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Old 07-06-2006, 10:05 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I wonder if I'm the only one picking up on homoerotic undertones there? I can see that it's ill concieved, but don't necessarily see anything racist going on there.

Quote:
The childs never saw skin colors in the guys in the flag, they saw humans killing another human, this pretty much sums what i feel about racism and laws that try to protect blacks, gays, woman, etc..., i beleive that its this laws and this narrow sighted appreciation of things that are racist.
We are all humans and equal in rights and obligations, whenever you start making laws or giving a different treatment to what is perceived as the "weak" side, there is where racism, and biggotry starts.
I disagree. If racism did not exist, there would be no need for such laws. In addition such laws do the opposite of giving anybody different treatment, they seek to eliminate different treatment based on race, sex, sexuality, nationality, etc. Other than the Americans With Disabilities Act, I know of no civil rights law that specifies any specific group for protection. The laws don't list groups that cannot be discriminated against, they list classes that cover both minorities and majorities.

For example, a typical equal opportunity clause might list sex, race, national origin, orientation, gender identity and expression. Each of those offers protection for all people. "Sex" says you cannot discriminate against men or women. "Race" offers protection for blacks, Hispanics, whites, Asians, Pacific Islanders, etc. Orientation protects gays, bisexuals, straights, asexuals. Gender identity and expression protects both transgendered and cisgendered people.

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Old 07-07-2006, 02:31 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Quoting Tim Buckley on this:
Quote:
Now at first glance, this stands to be a pretty offensive advertisement. That was my first reaction, definitely. However it's important to keep in mind that this advertisement isn't running in the US. It's a campaign over in Europe (Holland, if I recall correctly?) only. Why is that? Maybe because here in America we have such a history of racial tension, a history of slavery, an issue that divided our country in two in the face of war. So maybe it seems like a pretty harsh image to us, because we're extra sensitive to that sort of thing, perhaps out of shame, due to that part of our nation's history. (I'm not saying racism doesn't exist elsewhere around the world, but I'm not from elsewhere around the world, so I can't vouch for the feelings of different cultures. Holland played a big part in the slave trade, but they weren't slave owners, so Holland's black population isn't descended mostly from slaves. That level of tension isn't inherited in their society)

But the advertisement wasn't meant for us (America). It's probably not a mistake that Sony isn't running that particular campaign in the US. They may have felt it was more likely to be misinterpreted here. So I'm not sure I can condemn them as insensitive just because we Americans are so particularly prone to get our hackles up over things like this. It would sort of be like getting offended that a billboard in Japan is in Japanese, and I can't understand it.

It's just skin. Different colors, sure. And Sony has stated that their goal behind the advertisement was to focus on the contrasting colors (two other images from the campaign). So in that regard, using colors, what's the big deal about using a person with black skin and a person with white skin? It's just color.

It would be nice if we lived in a world where anyone looked at that billboard and all they saw was two people.

But, in America especially, you look at that billboard, and you see a white person in an assumed position of dominance over a black person, and immediately alarms go off in your head. Everything we learned in history class about the 1800's comes flooding into our minds, along with a healthy dose of guilt, and we apply our own demons to the image. We attach 150 years of racial tension to the image, and condemn it for our history, not because of any message it's actually delivering.

Which really is just two people representing two handheld video game consoles.
I have to say that in New Zealand, these ads would never be shown, as there is a little bit of historical tension between Maori and non-Maori, but no where near that of America. However, I really see no problem with it, though I understand how it could be seen as racist.
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Old 07-07-2006, 03:27 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Sony has done a lot of controvercial advertising, including graffiti art etc.. I think they are doing the right thing, making the press, news and getting a lot more free advertising with these ideas.

Personally I do not see the racism.
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Old 07-07-2006, 05:08 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Here's my take (not that anyone gives a damn)....get over it...it's media...we've gotten so uptight looking in all the shadows for imagined insults and veiled messages that we've forgotten how to live...
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Old 07-07-2006, 06:29 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gilda
I disagree. If racism did not exist, there would be no need for such laws. In addition such laws do the opposite of giving anybody different treatment, they seek to eliminate different treatment based on race, sex, sexuality, nationality, etc. Other than the Americans With Disabilities Act, I know of no civil rights law that specifies any specific group for protection. The laws don't list groups that cannot be discriminated against, they list classes that cover both minorities and majorities.

For example, a typical equal opportunity clause might list sex, race, national origin, orientation, gender identity and expression. Each of those offers protection for all people. "Sex" says you cannot discriminate against men or women. "Race" offers protection for blacks, Hispanics, whites, Asians, Pacific Islanders, etc. Orientation protects gays, bisexuals, straights, asexuals. Gender identity and expression protects both transgendered and cisgendered people.

Gilda
If you're a white guy and kill another white guy is it less of a crime than killing a black man? I don't think so... If you're a man and kill another man is it less of a crime than killing a woman? I dont' think so either. If you kill a straight man it is just a murder, but if you killed a gay it is a hate crime? common!, hate and passion is almost always present in any murder.

Killing for money, race, a cell phone or a pair of sneakers or any other motivation doesn't alter the fact of the killing, the protected right that has been violated is always the same "the right to live", the same happens if you're not allowed to enter a restaurant for whatever reason, the protected right that is been violated is you're "freedom of locomotion" and the same applies to any other instances, but when you the Law starts with bullcrap like, there has to me at leaset x percentage of some minority in this company-institution-organization, there is where problems arise. When the law says that there will be a different punishment if you kill someone of a different sex, race, sexual orientation or religion, once again there is a problem, becuase the law is making distintions amongst the people, and people must be equal in the eyes of justice, no wonder why whenever justice is depicted, she has her eyes bandaged.

Human rights are called human rights for a reason, those are the rights of ALL HUMANS, not the rights of the muslims, whites, latinos, women, etc... before been all those titles one is HUMAN and humans are equal in rights, no matter what race, religion, nationality, sexual preference or favorite football team one has.

One last thing, I'm not saying that racism is unexistant, what i'm saying is that racism is not a crime but the actions one makes been racist can constitute a crime.
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Last edited by ironman; 07-07-2006 at 06:39 AM..
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Old 07-07-2006, 09:05 AM   #23 (permalink)
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I'll toss in something that's not actually my writing but it comes from a video-game comic writer that I enjoy:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ctrl+Alt+Del
Now at first glance, this stands to be a pretty offensive advertisement. That was my first reaction, definitely. However it's important to keep in mind that this advertisement isn't running in the US. It's a campaign over in Europe (Holland, if I recall correctly?) only. Why is that? Maybe because here in America we have such a history of racial tension, a history of slavery, an issue that divided our country in two in the face of war. So maybe it seems like a pretty harsh image to us, because we're extra sensitive to that sort of thing, perhaps out of shame, due to that part of our nation's history. (I'm not saying racism doesn't exist elsewhere around the world, but I'm not from elsewhere around the world, so I can't vouch for the feelings of different cultures.)

But the advertisement wasn't meant for us (America). It's probably not a mistake that Sony isn't running that particular campaign in the US. They may have felt it was more likely to be misinterpreted here. So I'm not sure I can condemn them as insensitive just because we Americans are so particularly prone to get our hackles up over things like this. It would sort of be like getting offended that a billboard in Japan is in Japanese, and I can't understand it.

It's just skin. Different colors, sure. And Sony has stated that their goal behind the advertisement was to focus on the contrasting colors (two other images from the campaign). So in that regard, using colors, what's the big deal about using a person with black skin and a person with white skin? It's just color.

It would be nice if we lived in a world where anyone looked at that billboard and all they saw was two people.

But, in America especially, you look at that billboard, and you see a white person in an assumed position of dominance over a black person, and immediately alarms go off in your head. Everything we learned in history class about the 1800's comes flooding into our minds, along with a healthy dose of guilt, and we apply our own demons to the image. We attach 150 years of racial tension to the image, and condemn it for our history, not because of any message it's actually delivering.

Which really is just two people representing two handheld video game consoles.

Anyway, it's a little known fact that just a few weeks prior to this ad being released, Nintendo had a very similar ad in the very same spot. I'm lucky enough to posess a photograph of the billboard, which I'll share with you, my faithful readers.

P.S. - That last image is satire - That's his drawing style for his comics.
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Old 07-07-2006, 11:14 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Thanks a lot, Gatorade, now I have to be offended all over again.
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Old 07-09-2006, 09:17 PM   #25 (permalink)
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I think Sony should have definately seen this kind of backlash coming. I personally don't see them as racist, but many people are still very sensitive about the topic and will find racism in things that I would never have.
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Old 07-10-2006, 02:35 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Hey Gatorade, scroll up about 5 posts from you. Cheers.
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