The Hideous Marketing of Modern Warfare 3
Old 12-30-2011, 08:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default The Hideous Marketing of Modern Warfare 3

This a full article by a former paratrooper with US special ops. It appears in the Atlantic - http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2011/12/the-hideous-marketing-of-modern-warfare-3/250671/

It fits in somewhat with the topic of the hideous alternate uniforms of the Raptors. I would say the intent in each case is very different, but basketball players in camo has the possibility of looking like a part of the trivializing and sanitizing of war, and as such, somewhat tasteless.

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There is a television advertisement for a video game called Modern Warfare 3 that is so base and strident that it's hard to believe that it's not deliberately offensive. It begins with two Hollywood buffoons in (for whatever reason) MultiCam taking heavy fire during an apparent New York City terrorist attack. The men calmly walk into a hailstorm of bullets, and return fire with rifles, pistols, and submachine guns. Most disturbing is that the depicted maelstrom seems designed to carefully hover in the uncanny zone. Clearly it's not Black Hawk Down, but neither is it Starship Troopers. On some level—perhaps it's the intensity of the actors—the commercial wants its action to be taken seriously.

Veterans aren't in the "professionally aggrieved" business, and I don't doubt that some significant percentage of men and women in uniform own a copy of Modern Warfare 3. Because the game crossed the billion dollar sales mark in only 16 days, clearly its marketing strategy is working. But none of that makes it okay, or mitigates its tastelessness. The advertisement trivializes combat and sanitizes war. If this were September 10, 2001, maybe it wouldn't be quite so bad. Those who are too young to remember Vietnam might indulge in combat fantasies of resting heart rates while rocket-propelled grenades whiz by, and of flinty glares while emptying a magazine into the enemy. But after ten years of constant war, of thousands of amputees and flag-draped coffins, of hundreds of grief-stricken communities, did nobody involved in this commercial raise a hand and say, "You know, this is probably a little crass. Maybe we could just show footage from the game."

This is not an argument against so-called shooter video games or depictions of war in popular culture. However, as Afghanistan intensifies and we assess the mental and physical damage to veterans of Iraq, is now really the time to sell the country on how much fun the whole enterprise is? (Here I point to the giddy howls of one supposed soldier in the commercial as he fires a grenade launcher at some off-screen combatant. War is great, see? It's like a gritty Disneyland.)

Earlier this month, Sergeant Timothy Gilboe, a soldier with 4th Brigade Combat Team of 10th Mountain Division, received a Silver Star for heroism in combat. While on a patrol in Afghanistan, his platoon was attacked by insurgents. A squad leader was killed, and an assistant machine gunner's rucksack (filled with ammunition) was hit and caught fire. As Sgt. Gilboe worked to smother the flames, insurgents charged the men.

Keep the stupidity of the Modern Warfare 3 commercial in mind as you consider what Timothy Gilboe did next. He didn't have time to pick up his weapon as an insurgent set upon him. According to the Army News Service:

Gilboe reached out and grabbed the barrel of the enemy's AK-47 and pulled it toward his chest, which was covered by an armor plate. He said the last thing that ran through his mind before the enemy pulled the trigger was "This is gonna hurt a lot."

Gilboe was knocked to the ground, wounded by shrapnel and trauma. He got up and fought and beat down the insurgent in hand-to-hand combat until a comrade could shoot the enemy dead. And Gilboe wasn't finished. He then directed a security perimeter, provided first aid to the wounded, and helped in the medical evacuation—all before he allowed anyone to treat his injuries.
Here's how the Modern Warfare 3 commercial ends. Two smug, A-list clowns strut toward the camera, rifles hanging over their shoulders, explosions consuming the city of New York, and then the words: "THERE'S A SOLDIER IN ALL OF US."

No, there's not.
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Old 12-30-2011, 10:50 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I dunno, the ad is quite good
And Dwight in the end is hilarious

Game itself is jokes tho, and veterans being offended by it is something like being offended by Pac-Man
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Old 12-30-2011, 11:23 PM   #3 (permalink)
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maybe he should go talk to the peta people complaining about mario's clothing so they're wasting each others time instead of ours
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Old 12-30-2011, 11:46 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Maybe gamers should try to cross the street to get a loaf of bread in Homs.

I know too many vets that went through hell and thought human beings would surely find a way to stop that kind of hell. Instead they see it become a means of people getting their jollies.
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Old 12-31-2011, 12:15 AM   #5 (permalink)
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the guy who wrote this clearly doesn't understand that the commercial is supposed to be humorous and the action isn't to be taken seriously. if he wanted to use this to get an audience to tell timothy gilboe's story, there could have been better ways of doing it without coming across as a condescending prick.


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I know too many vets that went through hell and thought human beings would surely find a way to stop that kind of hell. Instead they see it become a means of people getting their jollies.
i understand what you're saying, but this isn't new. i'm aging you but i'm sure you as a kid played war games friends just after a more significant and damaging period to time.
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Old 12-31-2011, 12:27 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Jackson Filth View Post
the guy who wrote this clearly doesn't understand that the commercial is supposed to be humorous and the action isn't to be taken seriously. if he wanted to use this to get an audience to tell timothy gilboe's story, there could have been better ways of doing it without coming across as a condescending prick.




i understand what you're saying, but this isn't new. i'm aging you but i'm sure you as a kid played war games friends just after a more significant and damaging period to time.
My grandfather gave me hell for having a rigged up piece of wood that shot rubber bands. And he never fought. In my time there really was very little of that sort of thing. I remember playing cowboys and indians, or soldiers when very young, and it was boring. Batman was much better. I remember spending a day with a kid who had a GI Joe and it just felt ridiculous playing with a doll. Eventually video games came along, but it was all spaceships. There was shit like the A-Team, but that was clearly fantasy, and had a tone that was more Robin Hood than ordinary combat. There were anti-war movies depicting war where people got a good burst of adrenaline. In that sense I get that there is some undeniable link that might not go away, sanitized or not. But to make huge amounts of money based on our lizard brains seems a little off when people are so quick to see absolutely no value in something like bullfighting. I think human beings need to be able to figure out what violence means in their lives, and how best to recognize that honestly. There is much more to this ad than just trying to be humorous.

Last edited by LX; 12-31-2011 at 12:32 AM.
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Old 12-31-2011, 02:03 AM   #7 (permalink)
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The game demonstrates how fucking insane and ludicrous war is. You die over and over and over again. War needs to be remembered, not honoured.

Furthermore, the commercial is clearly not serious at all, the footage in the commercial is mirrored by the game, the author comes off as somebody who is just looking to complain about things.

Last edited by bjjs; 12-31-2011 at 03:02 AM.
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Old 12-31-2011, 11:17 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I think we've gotten away from the gist of the article somewhat, myself included. The author does not attempt to indict the military, or those who play these games. The problem for him lies with the marketing. It's lack of seriousness is part of the problem, as is the poor context.

It was not that long ago that a bunch of guys that never got any further than pretending to be soldiers, if that, used some high-tech war games to help them decide to launch an unnecessary, decade-long clusterfuck, on the basis that it would be over in weeks or months. The media jumped on board immediately and played a willing part in marketing the whole campaign, though certainly not as inanely as this ad does, but still without a full context, nor enough seriousness.

A couple of weeks ago I watched the PM of Iraq in Washington, honoring the 10000 dead US soldiers. It was disgusting. There wasn't much remembering taking place in the exercise, particularly in terms of the multitudes more representing killed and injured Iraqi citizens. How does that happen? And does it not make it all too easy to see war as something not quite so insane and ludicrous?
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Old 12-31-2011, 12:30 PM   #9 (permalink)
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The commercial itself is a very good representation of the actual game, the people who play the game, and the spirit and emotion of the game.

So I think if somebody has a problem with the marketing, their problem actually lies with the game and the people playing it.

The game isn't serious, it's a game, and marketed as such.

If anything the marketing should be sensationalized. Marketing it too seriously and realistically could be seen just as or more insulting.

Last edited by bjjs; 12-31-2011 at 01:00 PM.
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Old 02-20-2012, 04:29 PM   #10 (permalink)
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who cares
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Old 02-20-2012, 06:06 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I enjoy playing those games, but I also agree with the author. Its a tough one really.
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Old 02-20-2012, 10:06 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by slamdunkmax View Post
who cares
*sigh*

I disagree with many people, but apathy, or the "who cares" attitude, is just a lazy attitude towards thinking.

And yes, I was never a fan of the marketing of this game.
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