Marketing Gone Wrong: Hitman Kills Your Friends

An offensive marketing attempt by Square Enix targeted at Facebook users draws flak and forces its removal!

Hitman has always been a series that has had trouble marketing itself, often stepping on toes and even having a horrible track record for creating marketing done in poor taste. Though it seems this time the marketing has taken a turn for the worse especially after the ‘fallout’ from the “Attack of the Saints” trailer that many still question to this day.

The marketing app was designed for Facebook and would allow users to put out hits on their friends, inserting descriptors such as small tits, small penis, obese, bad odor, etc. To many of you, this would seem to be a huge mistake from the very beginning, especially noting how the internet brings out the worst in its users. Needless to say the backlash came swiftly with Square Enix pulling the app down as quickly as possible, giving this statement as a response:

“Earlier today we launched an app based around Hitman: Absolution that allowed you to place virtual hits on your Facebook friends. Those hits would only be viewable by the recipient and could only be sent to people who were confirmed friends.

We were wide of the mark with the app and following feedback from the community we decided the best thing to do was remove it completely and quickly. This we’ve now done.

We’re sorry for any offence caused by this.”

It begs the question of what Square Enix was thinking for even green lighting the application, and does a lot to reveal what the company thinks of its consumers and player base. On the one hand this sort of thing was designed to stir up controversy to get more people talking about Hitman while taking the backlash this app would cause as a manageable loss. Marketing like this is used to incite anger within a userbase who will drive traffic to vent their anger, using them as little more then free ad revenue and marketing themselves, being used all too often.

I know this is incredibly biased on my part, but I do have to say that bringing this sorry practice to light can help bring these practices to an end. I would love to hear your thoughts on the situation.

Escapist Magazine