If you are covering a story of Chinese gaming conference ChinaJoy and you didn’t take any pictures while you were there, search for “ChinaJoy” on Google Image and this is what you will get:
You type one keyword in the search engine, showgirls/cosers are all you get for images and the first non-showgirl/coser image can be found after 4 or 5 pages of browsing. by the way, showgirls like these might be ok for us, but it is considered “perverted” by many of our parent’s generation in China, who as I mentioned before, are actually paying for the games.
Now let’s take a look at E3 and see what the search results are:
The differences between the two search attempts are obvious: you will get the conference when you search for e3 and you will get showgirls when you search for ChinaJoy. Ironically enough, these are all gaming conferences and when you get onto the ChinaJoy’s official landing page, it looks as professional as one can expect for a conference (it looks a bit boring though).
How could ChinaJoy, a professional conference, gets search results that’s hardly related to it? Who let this happen?
1.Companies that participate in the conference
Sex sell, sex sell and sex sell. Yeah we understand that you want to draw people’s attention to your booth, but having way too many hot girls around your booth is just outrageous. Who would pay attention to your games and your business when surrounded by cleavages and short skirts? More importantly, are you trying to tell us that the reason why you brought this many showgirls to the conference to attract people is because your games suck? Probably not, so why go that way? I dare some of you to emphasize just the games you developed, which is the reason you should be in a gaming conferences and see if anyone stops by, I’m sure you will be surprised, in a good way (I will explain in the next bullet).
2.Gamers who visit the conference
“I’m about to check out some hot girls at ChinaJoy, you in?” “No I can’t, but by all means take hot pictures of them.” While I understand the ongoing trend of the self-deprecating humor : “being a perverted loser” as a Chinese in his twenties, this is bad for both the gamers and the industry if such practice of self-deprecating humor keeps going on since the original goal of the participating companies is not to present the showgirls and I believe the visitor’s intent was not to actually be the “perverted losers”. They just liked the feelings of being a part of the self-deprecating pop culture, If there were nice games presented to them they will be attracted.Yet no company was presenting the games and what we have based on the past several ChinaJoy conferences, were a perverted bazaar filled with fake perverts.
3.Reporters who covers the conference
All the “perverted bazaar” and the fake perverts were covered by the media, and of course, given the search results of ChinaJoy shown above, the event was covered from “perverted” angles. If you go to a any of the Chinese gaming site and look for coverage on ChinaJoy, you’ll end up at pieces like “hot babes at this year’s ChinaJoy” and almost nothing to do with games. The reporters are usually the ones who have more influences in the Gaming industry and this is what they give to the public when there is a gaming event like this. Like the purpose of the participating companies, covering showgirls would get your pieces popular, but will it be more professional and ethical for you guys to write something about the actual conference while taking pictures of the showgirls?
With “perverted” presentation, “perverted” visitors in the conferences and all of that being covered from a “perverted” angle. there must be no better way to position gaming conferences to the public. With the influence of ChinaJoy on the public, the coverage of ChinaJoy and the public perceptions that come along. I can’t imagine how proud you would be when you tell others that you’re a gamer.
See you at the next ChinaJoy “perverts”.
Ruining tactic 1. Disruption
Here is a link to a Chinese web-based game (turn down your volume, you’ve been warned. By the way, If you can’t read Chinese, don’t click on anything): http://game.ad1111.com/smxj33/68—8b5036f707e9539e896d821c6cb7a551/?t=smxj&s=34&game=9027034&a=1&from=2003
Now that you ‘ve seen what is on the page, I can explain to you what the page is about:
It’s a pop-up page, classic one way disruption marketing tactic. Thanks to new browsers like Firefox and Google Chrome, now these pages will not be right in your face, instead they will be opened in a new tab. But does that keep you from being disrupted? No. Pages like this now have background music: loud, cheesy, illegally borrowed music (remember when I told you to turn down the volume? Every time you go on to a Chinese gaming site, these pop-ups would shock you like that).
Ruining tactic 2. The contents
Now let’s talk about the contents. About everything you’ve seen on that page was not original, it’s either chopped from another game (sometimes even comic/manga) or with some minor modifications.
The text says: Real 3D web-based game, fast client-terminal download, the first 1000 registered player will get certain items/equipment for free.
How would this kind of message be appealing to gamers? A 3D game is nothing new, even if it’s “real”; should I be concerned by the downloading speed of the terminal software if I’m not interested in the game content, not to mention that the message failed to reveal any? If the game sucks (as anyone can expect when s/he looks at a page like this), who would even bother to pay any attention to the certain items/equipment?
However not all web-based game ads are like this, some are worse.
Check this one out: http://reg.gow.ucjoy.com/ucjoyreg/gow225/index.html?ad=01b2th80-you3
This is one of the many examples of awkward sex-sell
How is it awkward? What else did you notice besides this girl throwing a jab at you? And you wonder how is this girl related to the game? Well, I have no idea.
The original attempt was innocent, I suppose. It was just to attract more people through third-party endorsement. Then things when wrong from this point: companies started to dress the models with sexy or sometimes even obscene costumes for shooting the endorsement (Not the one I used for demonstration though, I just started this blog and I don’t want it to become distasteful this early), not only that, some companies even hired retired Japanese porn actress for the promotions. That I have no problem with, but that causes concerns from my parents’ generation.
The porn actresses the companies hired are well-known by both their fans and the parents of the fans, and obviously the two groups hold different opinions on the actresses.
By having this kind of endorsement, it is easy for the companies to generate some buzz, and make some of the gamers want to play the game, but in the meantime, such kind of endorsements would have the parents associate gaming with adult content very easily, and for now, the parents are still the people who would actually pay for the game. How would you make people want to pay for your products after you disgust them with the promotion? Other than that, how’s the endorser related to the games? Given that most of the Chinese web-based games are not sexually suggestive. Such kind of endorsements will not reach the desired effects.
I’m not saying sex appeal is generally bad, but the advertisers really need to have a look at the context in order to decide whether sex appeal is a good promotion strategy, especially for games, which are already being negatively perceived.
What do you all think? Is there anything I left out from the discussion? Let me know.