reappropriate

Thursday, July 06, 2006

White Pride Playstation

(courtesty of R) What is wrong with Sony? The Playstation is, in my opinion, the best game console out there. Sure Xbox 360 is pretty, but the sheer quality of gaming available on the Playstation makes it the gamer's choice. Frankly, the Playstation2 and the PSP (hand-held Playstation) should sell themselves. So why is it that Sony seems to be exercising the "reverse psychiatry" tactic of advertising, as if someone in their PR department found their job too boring so started challenging themselves to come up with advertising that would make the Playstation less appealing and see how many could still be sold. First there were the racist cartoon ads with the squirrels and dustmotes that spoke with thick, "ethnic" accents and mocking hip hop "lingo". These were aggravating, mind-numbing and not just a little bit offensive, without being at all funny. Then, someone decided to take it up a notch with this new advertising campaign, advertising the PSP, now available in ceramic white. Billboards like these appeared throughout the Netherlands. That's right. That's a White woman, dressed in White, contemptously choking the life out of a Black woman so dark that she blends into the background of the advertising (bringing to mind all kinds of racist jokes about "spooks"). If I didn't see the type in the upper left hand corner, I would have thought this were some kind of ad for the Ku Klux Klan. But, no -- this is how Sony wants to tell us that "White is coming". Yeah, White is coming -- to lynch Black folk! What were you thinking, Sony? What were you thinking? Well, what Sony was thinking was this: "A variety of different treatments have been created as a campaign to either highlight the whiteness of the new model or contrast the black and the white models. Central to this campaign has been the creation of some stunningly photographed imagery, that has been used on large billboards throughout Holland...All of the 100 or so images created for the campaign have been designed to show this contrast in colours of the PSPs , and have no other message or purpose." Right, because lack of racist intention has always trumped racist imagery. As much as Sony wants to call this a "contrast" of colours, these "stunning" photographs use racial differences to underscore a message of White supremacy. What is this: Birth of a Nation 2? Personally, I'm this close to boycotting the upcoming PS3 over this idiocy.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Mac said...

I think the ads are brilliant personally. Everyone is talking about them. Now will that translate into sales for the PSP? Who knows.

There's something I've noticed in the various discussions I've seen (and started) around the net is that people focus on that one picture but yet noone says anything about the other pictures in series including the picture where the black woman is grabbing the white woman.

7/07/2006 04:18:00 AM  
Blogger Gar said...

You'd think a big company like Sony would be smarter than this. Obviously, whatever obnoxiously rich ad exec who OK'd the ads series gave no thought to how the pictures might be interpreted, especially if someone has no idea was a PSP is. They obviously aim to provoke.

For a real gold mine of idiocy, check out this link:

http://digitalbattle.com/2006/07/04/racist-white-psp-ad/

Plenty of comments from (white) PSP fanboys who espouse the tired of rhetoric of, "I'm not a racist, and I don't think this ad is racist, therefore, YOU MUST BE RACIST!" And they say that people who play video games are supposed to be more intelligent... pshhht.

7/07/2006 10:02:00 AM  
Blogger Jenn said...

ARGH! Thanks, Gar, that link hurt my brain. Everyone was stupid in that comments thread.

To me, while the "lynching" version of the ad is the most overt ad, the racism is introduced by the use of skin colour and race to represent PSP colours. The ads then use the black background to emphasize the darkness of the Black woman, rendering her virtually invisible, while the White woman is brought to a place of visual prominence.

The point of the ad is that the White PSP is more desirable than the Black PSP. But, because they are correlating PSP colour with skin tone, the undercurrent of the ad is that not only is the White PSP superior, but White skin is superior as well.

The position of the women helps, but that's not the only thing wrong with this ad campaign. I'm glad they pulled it.

It just goes to show that either no one in Sony is thinking or this was totally intentional and now everyone's talking. Either way, what's sad is that no one will boycott Sony over this -- their sales will be fine no matter what they do with their advertising money.

7/07/2006 01:24:00 PM  
Anonymous philly jay said...

Anyone think the ad is racist?I don't.It's not a very good add to be sure, but I personally don't find it insulting or racist.Has anyone else seen the other pictures of the same add?

7/10/2006 03:44:00 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

I think it's racist for the reasons stated above. It has a lot to do with the correlation established by the ad between PSP colour and skin colour, and the implicit message of the ad (i.e. the reason why it would work at all) is that White is preferable or superior to Black.

7/10/2006 05:58:00 PM  
Anonymous philly jay said...

Ok, I see where you are coming from now.I personally don't see it the same way as you do, but at least I understand your view.I kind of thought the add was a little tounge in cheek like, as well as bad.

I wonder what the reaction would be if it was the other way around.What if the psp was originally white, and the new color was black,and the roles were reversed.But then some people might think the black model would look menacing, like a threat against white people.Just can't win :).Anyway,I wish they at least used a better looking black model.

7/11/2006 02:21:00 AM  
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