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Ubisoft's little, white, Splinter Cell advertisement lie

Everyone knows advertising is biased. If the whole point of creating an advert for a product is to drum up hype (and therefore sales), then chances are companies will try their darndest to make sure their baby’s put in the best light possible. There are laws that protect consumers from outright fabrication, but what if the ad is only sort of telling a fib?

Case in point: Ubisoft’s Splinter Cell Essentials ad. The advert was called to 1UP’s attention, and things at first glance do look dubious indeed. The statement “One of the best games on the PSP” made by GameSpy was culled, they discovered, from a preview the gaming website did months before the game was released. While said preview was indeed hopeful of the game’s kick-assery, it instead was given a swift kick in the ass by their later review.

The article states that no response has yet been received from either Ubisoft or GameSpy about the ad. We’re guessing this’ll be one of those “oops” things; someone’ll get smacked on the wrist and the ad will disappear with reputation and advertising relationship intact. What’s your take on this? Do you think Ubisoft’s gone too far, or do you think what they did is justifiable?

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Reader Comments

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1. I don't consider this to be the "oh my goshery" of crimes, but still a *little* on the low side.

Though, the same can be said about movie ads. All that's required is a name and relative quote from any point in time.
So long as the context of the quote isn't revealed, the consumer can make their own "dangerous" assumption.

Now, what would be *really* sneaky would be to turn a bad review in their favour. Like adding a "graphical orgasm," but leaving out the preceding "superficial."
Of course, I just made that *review* up, but it's happened before :)

Posted at 10:16PM on Apr 17th 2006 by Crux

2. I can't really fault Ubi too much here. The entire quote is "Although Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Essentials doesn't reinvent the wheel in any way, it's undoubtedly one of the best games we've played on the PSP." So it's not like they misquoted them. Heck, I'm surprised they didn't squeeze the word "undoubtedly" in the ad.

What interests me more is that it's the same guy that wrote both the preview and the review. How does one go from "one of the best games" to "this disappointing title is far from essential"? Does things change that much between beta and final versions? If so, shouldn't you refrain from calling a game one of the best until it's actually done?

Posted at 8:03AM on Apr 18th 2006 by Mark

3. Low it may be, but it's advertising's job to sell the game. They quoted an article written about the game so you can't exactly fault them. IMHO if your going to buy a game without properly researching it then you deserve to play through crap like this.

Posted at 8:19PM on Apr 18th 2006 by Nik

4. and some people complain i copy content

Posted at 7:44AM on Apr 19th 2006 by noah

5. I guess it depends on your perspective. In my opinion Splinter Cell essentials is the best game I have played on the PSP. I have the game on my computer and found the PSP version equally enjoyable and had no difficulty adapting to the controls. Admitedly if you don't play the game with stealth in mind then the controls may let you down in a gun fight, but hey Splinter Cell is not a shoot em up.

Posted at 7:15AM on Apr 25th 2006 by Iain

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