The attenuated insertion of endorsements have become significantly prevalent in modern media over the past decade. Jack Bauer utilising a particular make of phone, Olivia Dunham driving a specific vehicle, Simon Cowell sipping some pretentious beverage–it’s almost unavoidable. With the positioning of the investors product visibly discernible to potential consumers, generating increased revenue for the already wealthy proprietor its difficult not to feel aggressively beset by commercialism. Instances such as these have become an informed rhetoric for both TV and Film, with this monogamous fidelity presenting affable leverage for both recipients. A television show that has received limited backing from a network, with the aid of product placement can invigorate their frugal retainer and extrude a more healthy production expense. Advertisers in turn for their generous donations can receive further visual recognition for their products, and if implemented fastidiously can retain a sense of continuity without a scene feeling like obvious subterfuge, or at least a measured integration of self-awareness. Of course this does mean the highest bidder preserves the exclusionary right to advertise a conglomerates specific product, and as a result James Bond will invariably be sipping a Heineken as opposed to the traditional shaken Vodka Martini. As a consumer I should feel averse to these subliminal intrusions, abashed at the flagrancy of such evident greed and duplicity, but the tonal moderation doesn’t offend me as much as it should. I personally feel that such incentives compensate the production of a feature, and you have to admire their resourcefulness as I can understand entirely why they invest in popular shows for further visibility, I mean how many people actually watch commercials now anyway? I also feel that allowing genuine products adds legitimacy to the context. For instance if someone purchases a carbonated drink, I want them to buy a Coca-Cola, or Pepsi or Tango. I’m personally more irritated by arrested pay walls in games!
I don’t however possess omnipotent credulity to their invasive forays, particularly the specious portrayals of gaming. One commercial for an unspecified furniture company (the one that’s an acronym) depicts a rather rotund gentleman presumably imitating a “hardcore gamer” by flinging his upper-body and extremities around with embellished accord, like an excitable toddler duplicating his parents driving, with inaccurate steering of his paper plate, but with a PS4 controller. Because we can all associate with flinging our bodies around the room, grimacing at every button press, and completely ignoring the shoulder buttons. Oh and much like the individual exhibiting our mannerisms, we are also clearly too stupid to turn the controller on. Because despite he’s lustrous excitement, it’s quite apparent that the controller isn’t switched on! I know its only a moderate misinterpretation, but because of the association with gaming I somehow feel violated, and it got me thinking (sorry I really have digressed) but as much as I can placate such intrusive marketing in film and television, I really don’t think I could tolerate such wilful desolation in games. Mobile games are already fraught with vexatious irritating ads that aren’t hesitant in bombarding your phone or tablet, prompting with such sporadic regularity that they actually trick you into clicking onto them. Gaming has become an incredible resource for such exploitation, but how long will it be before it infiltrates more contemporary console gaming?
Recently playing The Last Of Us I discovered subversive nods and odes (or Easter Eggs) to past acquaintances which are all humorous as well as intentionally nostalgic; plush toys of Jak and Daxter, an uncharted board game and even a PS3 console lying destitute in an abandoned electrical retailer (a sad reflection of the last gen perhaps?) even a recording device had Sony etched onto to its exterior. These real life references profess these fictitious events into something startling real, as though its simply a matter of time before the structural fragility of humanity crumbles. But is this just harmless nostalgia, or something more insidious? Though these instances are innocuous and largely benign, you would have to start asking serious questions if a series of button configurations began to appear as you engaged in a crude, rather inappropriate sex act between Ethan and Madison in Heavy Rain. “Wait Ethan, don’t you have a condom?” “Of course Madison, their ribbed for you pleasure!” Durex: If You Can’t Protect Your Kids, At Least Protect Your Sperm. It’s also worth noting games that have relished in the received refusals of commercial endorsements due to the nature of their content. GTA for instance has endured many glaring commercial exclusions, presumably because the likes of Ferrari don’t want to be associated with excessive narcotics and drive-bys. So as an indifferent retaliation to car companies rescinding their specific models, as well as American provinces and cities equally reluctant to be featured, despite the glaring similarities has provided one of the most hilarious satirical lineages in-spite of the latent residency of factual endorsement. I particularly enjoy the RockStar have openly mocked companies such as Facebook (Life Invader) and iPhone’s (i-fruit) parasitical rise to affluence. This type of deliberate belligerence and parodied character or business assassination’s are acceptable, unless of course you Lindsey Lohan, but I can’t imagine Trevor pausing briefly in the middle of flushing severed appendages down a toilet and asking “Are you covered in a random vagrants congealed blood? Then you need Vanish stain remover. Eliminates even the most resilient residual bone marrow the way I remove your teeth and digits!” Perhaps this usurping hysteria is an illusory fabrication refined by my own pessimism; but I can’t help wondering how long until subliminal messaging becomes a far more hermetic influence in gaming?
Will gaming *Go* become compromised *Buy* by advertisement in the future *Bacon*? Let me know your thoughts on this and on how finger licking good this article is. Cheers.