In the TV advertisement for the newest “Call of Duty” video game, Kobe Bryant totes an assault rifle as part of the game’s “There’s a soldier in all of us” marketing campaign.It’s a clever advertisement (see below) that depicts celebrities and everyday people navigating a battle ground with comically potent weapons.
But the media – sports and tech alike – have taken the fun out of the commercial. Pundits bash Activision for marginalizing actual American troops, disparage the company for bringing violent weaponry too close to reality, and derail Kobe Bryant for sending the wrong message to his adoring fans.
The campaign’s sole intent is to emphasise Call of Duty’s wide appeal. And if the humour behind the advertisement isn’t immediately clear, wait for the last scene when a fast-food chef makes like Rambo and single-handedly takes down an entire battleground.
It wouldn’t simply be a stretch to say the ad promotes violence – it would be absolutely foolish. If anything, the message is the opposite. The ad implies that because we can’t do this in real life, it’s great to be able to do it in a game. After all, as forms of entertainment go, video games are the ultimate escapism. That’s why first-person-shooters and other violent video games are among the most popular games of all time.
And the biggest consumers of said video games are teenagers. Much of that demographic can only afford to purchase the $60 titles on their parents’ dime – the same parents likely causing the uproar over the advertisement in the first place.
Perhaps in an ideal world, we wouldn’t be so fascinated by violent video games. But as Jay-Z, HBO, and Quentin Tarantino have shown us, violence is an undeniable part of our entertainment culture. And as entertainers themselves, it should not be considered taboo for an athlete to endorse a video game.
Here’s the ad:
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