Today, surfing the web is a very popular hobby. Companies are always looking for ways to get a quick profit. To get more consumers to spend their money and purchase their products, various companies have begun broadcasting/publishing their ads on the Internet. Some of these ads work, but some of these ads fail and end up getting ridiculed, mocked and scorned. In 2009, Evony had a very “unique” ad campaign. It ended up as the metaphorical village laughingstock because it sent its viewers the wrong message.
The first and most prominent thing seen in the ad is an attractive swimsuit model wearing a black lace bikini. Some people browsing the website might click the ad out of curiosity because they think/assume the game has those attractive girls that are pictured in the Evony ads. Some of them end up being disappointed with the game itself after playing it because the game does not have the girls shown in the ad in any shape or form. In other words, the game basically lied to them.
This particular ad for the Evony is seemingly catered towards young teenage men. In popular media (like video games and comic books), there seems to be a trend of objectifying women by having them wearing skimpy clothing like bikinis, swimsuits, catsuits, and short skirts. All of these things have one thing in common: they all emphasize a woman’s breasts and legs. Some women like playing video games as a hobby. If those “gamer girls” see this ad, they might feel uncomfortable and offended. As a result, Evony might lose a potential consumer base.
The game claims that it is free to play forever. Some players look at this claim with some curiosity or a bit of skepticism. Either way, they try the game. After all, most people like free things. This claim looks too good to be true. After all, there is no such thing as a free lunch or free. In other words, everything on Earth has a cost to pay. Evony itself is not exempt from this rule.
Over time, the game will accumulate many costs such as: running the game servers smoothly, making sure server connections do not go down, moderating the players, and listening to consumer feedback in an attempt to make the game more fun to play. The company who runs Evony might shut down and go out of business because the costs might become too difficult to pay over time and overwhelm them.
To pay for these costs, the company that runs and operates the Evony game decides to charge the player ways to make the game easier for them, such as making the game more playable to a greater degree and giving the player who paid very strong perks. These things are optional; however, the company who is running Evony decided to make the game slow and unbalanced, making it obligatory to pay for these things in practice. To a certain degree, this advertisement lied to its consumers through omission. The advertisement has decided to say the game is free to play, but it does not explain the game’s silver lining in fine, specific detail.
The ad claims that Evony is the best web game out there. This claim does not work because Evony does not back up its claim. An excellent way to back up a claim is to support it with a citation. For instance, gaming journalism quotes can help people judge whether to buy or ignore the game. Without a good citation, consumers looking at the ad might not know whether a game is good or not. As a result, some potential customers are turned away from Evony.
The claim of Evony being the best game ever is questionable. After all, every game has its strengths and weaknesses. Evony is no exception to this rule. Critics of Evony have said these things: the game is too similar to the other Real Time Strategy games (Civilization and Age of Empires more specifically); the game installs spyware on the customers’ computers without their permission; the game does not enforce its rules in a strict yet fair manner; and the game becomes tedious to play at times. At one point, the company that is currently running Evony has tried to sue a prominent Evony critic in a libel lawsuit because they thought he was defaming them. In reality, he wanted the truth about how the Evony Company was using dirty practices to keep itself running smoothly. Eventually, the company dropped the case like a sack of potatoes.
The advertisement claims that Evony can be played in secret. However, this claim contradicts itself as soon as the game is played first-hand. Evony players can watch their peers play the game in real-time. Evony also provides its players a public chat-room typically used to talk about anything general and/or interact with the other players. There are also the Evony forums, used to give the game creators some feedback.
The combination of the swimsuit/pornography model in the black bikini and the phrasing of the statement give the advertisement a different, sexual meaning. The ad portrays a girl in a bikini and since there is a phrase that says that the game must be played in secret, one can get the implication that the game has an erotic nature to it.
Evony is just a simple simulation browser-based game. However, the advertisements of the game say otherwise. They use erotic images that send the wrong message to people. They use false claims of the game being the best web game without offering proof. They claim the game is free to play, but there are hidden charges within the game itself. If these ads continue to run, Evony might lose a lot of potential customers.
Evony [Advertisement]. (2009). Google Ad Services. Retrieved from http://codinghorror.typepad.com/.a/6a0120a85dcdae970b0120a86e1dd9970b-pi