The old “Wait a minute … is this ad about sex??” ploy doesn’t fool anyone anymore. So when we see a female doctor saying, “I bet you’ve already done it today. And I bet you really enjoyed yourself. How many times did you do it yesterday?” we know she’s not actually talking about masturbation and we don’t really care what she is talking about. But Sony thought we might.
The company released the above ad on YouTube to show off its Remote Play feature, which lets you use PlayStation 4 games on the PlayStation Vita or Xperia Z series smartphones. But all the problems with the ad kind of distract from whatever Sony is trying to highlight, and the company quickly pulled the video. (Business Insider found an extremely similar Xbox 360 ad from 2012, though it features a man.)
The ad includes sultry close-ups on the woman’s mouth and face, plus she leans closer and closer to the camera throughout until she pulls back to reveal that she has a PS Vita. How unusual! An attractive and educated female human playing video games!
Though the ad seems like it’s trying to promote the idea that anyone can be into gaming, it misses the mark by taking so much time to establish the woman as sexually provocative. As Kwame Opam points out on the Verge, “Our sexy doctor is pretty clearly designed to entice the straight teen male demographic gaming companies have been pandering to for decades.”
And BoingBoing notes that Sony ran another sexist ad in 2012 (this one for print) that was also hawking the PS Vita. It’s unclear which advertising agencies oversaw each ad, but whoever it was, it’s definitely time for a new strategy that sends a better message and also gives consumers some credit. For one thing, we know that’s an iMac G4 circa 2002 on the left side of the shot. Super-high-tech.