>Porn as advertising (really NSFW)

>Okay, so it turns out that I have stuff that I want to say about Evony, though I’ll be talking more about its advertising spin-offs than the game itself. Anyway, this blog isn’t really what I’d call SFW, but this entry is really, really NSFW. You’ve been warned…

For those of you who have somehow managed to avoid the horror that is Evony, Evony (formerly Civony) is a “free” browser-based MMO run by a company that is noteable for its connections to Chinese gold farming. They’re also pretty famous for intellectual property theft, having stolen its art from Age of Empires and its fonts and gameplay from the Civilization series. All of this is bad enough, but they decided to really go for the gold in classiness with their advertising campaign that can best be summarized as… well… this:

(Compilation taken from the Gallery of the Absurd.) And there’s more. So, so much more. Go to Google Image and search for “Evony ad” to see this and WORSE. (No, really.) Jeff Atwood summarized this advertising campaign best when he said:

“Thanks for showing us what it means to take advertising on the internet to the absolute rock bottom … then dig a sub-basement under that, and keep on digging until you reach the white-hot molten core of the Earth”.

So, there’s that. Evony has pretty quickly gained itself a reputation as “the most hated game on the web” because of it’s scummy advertising campaign – which makes you think that other developers would be hesitant to follow their lead. Right? Unfortunately, perhaps not…

What? What’s going on here? Come play my lord? Free to play? And look at the ad on the left! The “Start Game” button is right over the girl’s crotch! You’ve got to be kidding me!

But, oh wait… World of LordCraft is just the guys behind Evony again. This time, unsurprisingly, they’re ripping off WoW instead of Age of Empires and Civ. Shocker. Okay, I guess this is a false alarm. Surely no one else would be crass enough to use these same advertising ploys, right?

Hmm. Evony. Civony. And… Caesary? Caesary is another translated Chinese browser-based online strategy MMO. Coincidence? Maybe. The jury is still out on whether or not Caesary is by the same people who did Evony and Civony. So, I guess we’ll set aside Caesary for now.

Okay, what the heck. Civony, Evony, maybe Caesary, and now Kingory? What’s going on here? These ads don’t have the “my lord” in them, though they do have a hot cleavagey girl. Amusingly, Evony claims that Kingory is a copycat of Evony, which is kind of like Britney calling Kelly Clarkson a no-talent hack. (Takes one to know one?)

Hey, check it out! Here’s a free MMO that’s making fun of the Evony ads! And both of the characters in the ad are wearing clothes! That’s encouraging. Except…

Dammit, Fiesta. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. I mean, okay. Yes this isn’t as bad as stealing girls from the covers of porn DVDs for your ads. But still, this is definitely a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

Still. All of this is sort of encouraging. Maybe it’s just the Evony spin-offs and copycats who are doing this porn as advertising thing? Maybe?

God dammit. So, there’s this. I haven’t been able to find anything suggesting that this might be the same people, and descriptions I’ve read of the gameplay suggest that this probably isn’t the same people. (It sounds more like a Korean free MMO than a Chinese Evony-type game.) How discouraging.

It really seems like the advertisers were looking at the Evony lesbians ad and thinking how to “improve” on it.

Determining Marketing Strategy: A Short Play in One Act

ALLODS EXEC: Boobs are great, but lesbians are better. Our new ad should have lesbians.
ALLODS MARKETER: Good choice, my lord. I mean, sir.
ALLODS EXEC: We need to make our lesbians more enticing than those Evony lesbians.
ALLODS MARKETER: Well, how about making them fairies? Wings make anything sexier.
ALLODS EXEC: I like where you’re going.
ALLDS MARKETER: Also, Evony’s lesbians seem pretty tame.
ALLODS EXEC: I agree. I think our lesbian fairies should be rubbing against each other. But not in a porn way, in a classy, sexy way. In a “I’m turned on that two fairy chicks are rubbing their fairy boobs all over each other” kind of way.
ALLODS MARKETER: I like the way you think, sir.

…Ugh. Okay. So maybe it’s just Allods? Maybe everyone else is just going to stick to cheesecake advertising?

GODDAMIT. I mean – “deep character skills”? Is that some kind of joke? But hey, at least these online MMOs can’t sink any lower. Right? …Right?

Wait. Wait – really?

Motherf*cker.

10 thoughts on “>Porn as advertising (really NSFW)

  1. >One of the problems with the phrase "intellectual property" is that it encompasses a number of distinct areas of law (copyright, trademark, patent, and trade secret). Its fuzziness leads to erroneously conclusions. In this case, copying art from another game is almost certainly copyright infringement. Copying fonts might be. (Copyright protection for fonts in the United States is really weird, largely because historically we had a profitable industry knocking off fonts from Europe.).Gameplay is completely unprotected in the United States and I believe in most of the world. To the extent that you can use copyright to limit knockoff games, you're limited to reproductions of the graphic design or your text. Taking someone else's game and reproducing the core gameplay while changing the surface look, or adding only minor changes, is an old tradition in game design and publishing. Reputable companies like PopCap are happy to do it (Zuma is an obvious knockoff of PuzzLoop).I'm happy to tar and feather Evony and friends for copyright infringement on art, for cynically pandering in the lowest ways, and generally being douchebags. But that they nicked gameplay from elsewhere isn't something bad.(I otherwise agree with your post, and don't have anything particularly insightful to say about naked-women-as-advertising.)

  2. >Alan: As someone who dabbles in game-design, I was aware that game mechanics aren't copyrightable, and that's cool. I mean, pretty much everything I've done design-wise has been pirating other people's good ideas. So it's not that part that bothers me. I mean, it's kind of scummy in some lights, but – yes – perfectly legal. It's the part where they're stealing art and lore that bothers me more than anything.

  3. >hahaa this is great. I actually work in the CPA industry and have promoted gaming offers. The advertisers of Evony are in the CPA space and they pay about $1.00 for every user an affiliate gets to sign up. So as far as the advertising goes, sex sells! Especially when affiliates are buying the media themselves it's pretty important to get as many clicks as possible. It's sad but it works…

  4. >That last ad (Nodiatus) is kind of hilarious in the sense that the quotes are from people who have nothing to do with gaming journalism.Awesomely deep character skills – SomethingAwful ForumsUnique and Strategic magic system – Nodiatus forumsand finally…Best online RPG I have ever played… – Thorsik, Nodiatus Player

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