Publicity stunts that cause indignation stretch back for hundreds of years, but this week media indignation continued to heap on Sony Play Station, in fact it has soared to Number one for a stunt to outrage all outrages. A row has been ignited over animal cruelty and the ethics of the computer industry by Sony’s use of a freshly slaughtered goat to promote a violent video game. The corpse of the decapitated animal was the centrepiece of a party to celebrate the launch of God Of War II game for the company’s PlayStation 2 console. I am not sure if Sony sanctioned this stunt, it did have the dabs of a renegade software partner.
On the one hand Sony seem to be trying to get the Daily Mail reading middle Englanders to jump up and think, wow, aren’t Sony on the edge, but on the other, isn’t Sony being a little naïve in thinking that consumers and the public alike haven’t moved on from what can only be described as a Spinal Tapesque stunt? A geeky gamey pal emailed me the following overview “the Play Station brand isn’t in a position to just be making people like me think, aren’t they edgy. They need to position themselves as an inclusive, family/social brand and this stunt fails big time. Whoever thought this up isn’t thinking post-Wii and has no regard for where Play Station should be heading”. Another less connected soul loved the old skool shock and awe, particularly the act of snookering the bible of white middle-class shires. There is so much debate still raging, so keep them peeled.
The artist Duro Tomaato has constructed an interactive art piece in the form of a 19ft vagina. Viewers are invited to put their head into the vagina to stimulate the noises of cunnilingus. It is not surprising that in some circles, this has caused consternation and is under threat of being censored. Artists are trying to so hard to be “cutting edge”, but there is a certain repetition in the way they go about it. On both occasions, no matter how old the idea, these stunts will generate column inches, but what effect do they really have? What seems a good idea at the time could prove damaging to a brand or an artist in the future?