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Halp your Queen's boobs, My Lord!
July 11, 2009 9:29 PM   Subscribe

The downward spiral that is Evony, a web based multi-player game, advertising. Also: The Best Worst Ads by 1UP and fake in-game ads by Something Awful.
posted by Foci for Analysis (41 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Sheesh, yeah, I've been wondering about those ads. When I first saw one (the relatively-tame second one shown in the blog post), I assumed it was some kind of porny thing. Learning what the game actually was baffled me.
posted by roll truck roll at 9:39 PM on July 11, 2009


That last one must be relatively new. I'd only seen the second-last one, and that was in the few hours I spent between re-installing OS X and installing FF3.5 and Adblock.

It looked a bit too discreet for porn, and a bit too crap for a game. I wondered if it was some sort of Mills & Boon RPG.
posted by Pinback at 9:57 PM on July 11, 2009


Hah, that's great 'cause just an hour ago I saw an Evony ad where half the box was filled with cleavage and I rolled my eyes.
posted by Nattie at 9:57 PM on July 11, 2009


Hahah. I've seen those ads all over the place. These guys know their market. If there's one thing that will attract lonely in monitor-lit bedrooms across the interweb, it's boobs.

(Oh man, and I had never seen that last ad. It's, erm, a departure. It almost seems like the marketing department got sarcastic)
posted by delmoi at 9:57 PM on July 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


I've actually watched that progression. Well, all except the last one, which just looks like the joke at the end of an SA article...
posted by Scattercat at 10:06 PM on July 11, 2009


A, uh...a friend of mine saw that last Evony ad earlier today on Mininova or ISOhunt. Eye-catching, but really, I would've been disappointed to click that and find a Civ ripoff.
posted by graventy at 10:08 PM on July 11, 2009


I just went to the "The" link and while clicking through the bad ads they were blogging about the ad panel on the side actually showed an Evony cleavage ad.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:12 PM on July 11, 2009


The ad doesn't exactly break through the fourth wall so much as charge at it with its head down and knock itself cold without making a dent.

That alone makes it worth the price of admission.
posted by ErWenn at 10:16 PM on July 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've been trying to kill those ads on my sites for months (through the Adsense competitive ad filter, on the grounds that they compete with good taste), but they keep changing the domains of the landing pages.

Why they want to run that crap on pop-etymology sites is beyond me.
posted by words1 at 10:53 PM on July 11, 2009


I encountered the last one after doing a FireFox update and finding that AdBlock had ruled Kongregate unsafe. Upon re-"safing" the site, the tits were the first thing to come up.

AdBlock may be trying to save me from myself. I am contacting the developers to enlist their aid in eliminating the distracting "cleavage factor" from the remainder of my life's decisions.

I anticipate boredom, but success through great focus.
posted by Graygorey at 10:53 PM on July 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


>If there's one thing that will attract lonely in monitor-lit bedrooms across the interweb, it's boobs.

And in your nation's hospitals. Our shift's tele tech, as well as one of our RNs (and the charge nurse from the prior shift) are completely addicted to Evony. So much so that it's difficult to rouse any of them off their asses to, you know, work? while they're on the job.

Your healthcare dollars at work, people.
posted by arachnid at 10:56 PM on July 11, 2009


Hahah. I've seen those ads all over the place. These guys know their market. If there's one thing that will attract lonely in monitor-lit bedrooms across the interweb, it's boobs.


See, here's the thing. If I want to look at boobs, and I have the Internet, I don't need to buy a game. A game costs NZ$120 for a new release. Even paying for porn would get me a whole lot of porn - more than the 6 hours that a typical games runs to these days. And you know something? I'm not too au fait with the cost of strippers but I'm willing to bet $120 would get me an evening with a bunch of actual naked women dancing around in front of me.
posted by rodgerd at 10:59 PM on July 11, 2009


Terrain: Booblands.
Normal: +2 cash, +5 happiness, no food
With resources: implants. +4 cash, tradable
Movement: 20 turns, 10 with corset
Irrigation: impossible without making the game X rated
posted by Iosephus at 11:33 PM on July 11, 2009 [7 favorites]


AdBlock had ruled Kongregate unsafe. Upon re-"safing" the site, the tits were the first thing to come up.

Priorities, my good man. Priorities.
posted by rokusan at 1:15 AM on July 12, 2009


Just a nitpick: those ads listed on the codinghorror site are definitely not all in chronological order. As the site itself explains, the game was originally called Civony. Ad #2 uses the old name while ad #1 uses the new. I've been paying attention to these ads for a while and can also vouch that the female-focused ones are by no means a new addition, although those that are entirely >>>B*R*E*A*S*T*S<<< certainly are.

While the subject of internet advertising is up, here's another one I've been wondering about. There is this particularly low-rent brand of banner ad going around that consists of disturbing before-and-after pictures of a weight-loss plan, with attached text that reads something like "Lose weight by Obeying one rule!" Or "One rule to losing weight: Obey." It's like the ad copy is pretending to be some dime-store Svengali, outright ordering the viewer to follow their cockamamie diet scheme. We have entered the age of the actively-pushy ad campaign.
posted by JHarris at 2:21 AM on July 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


Because girls don't play casual web-based games !

Putzes. I really did think that the last image shown was some sort of farcical projection. I hope whoever decided that was a good marketing tactic has subjected to the -3 Performance Evaluation of Dread.
posted by Jilder at 3:02 AM on July 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


JHarris's mention of the "obey" ad reminds me of an even more baffling one -- the ones claiming "Obama asks Moms to return to school", which always seem to feature videos of women...working out. Huh?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:13 AM on July 12, 2009


to an advertising man, this campaign seems terribly amateurish. okay, a pair of boobs packed into a lettuce-like bra. fine. but as many others have said - why not get that at a million other places on the web? there is no distinction here.
posted by krautland at 4:13 AM on July 12, 2009


The thing about these ads though is that there's a progression. Which means that unless the company is bleeding cash and trying one last crazy idea increasingly desperately before they go bankrupt, they must be finding some sort of correlation between objectifying women and sales (or at least visits). You can even see them experimenting with different types of objectification.
posted by No-sword at 4:34 AM on July 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


I won't dispute that it may be they're hemorrhaging cash and getting desperate but this seems to be a case of a marketing department having no clue why people play their game, what it is that they have to offer that others don't. this may be the case because the game isn't very original but it's at the core of the problem regardless of what the product is. they don't know what they want to say, so they go for titties.

or major tittage.
posted by krautland at 5:04 AM on July 12, 2009


a marketing department Owner's 15 year old cousin in Russia, having no clue why people play their game.
posted by The Whelk at 5:06 AM on July 12, 2009


But my point is, despite all the objections one could raise on the grounds of marketing principles, taste, and common decency, it must be working for them in some sense of the word. Otherwise, why would they keep digging the hole deeper?

That's the real story here, in my opinion. We all know that spam and scams work because they're so cheap to set up that you only need to ensnare a few horny, gullible, and/or stupid people to break even. Now, apparently, we're seeing that it's possible to use the same "trick the horny/gullible/stupid into clicking" business model to support a functioning online game with nothing (apparently) to do with boobs at all. This is really bad news for anyone with taste but without adblock.
posted by No-sword at 5:27 AM on July 12, 2009


It's working for them because we're talking about it right now.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 5:50 AM on July 12, 2009


It's working for them because we're talking about it right now.

Well, when they had the "armoured guy with sword" ads, I signed up and spent about ten minutes playing. Now they have the boobies, I snort and move on. I don't actually think that's a win for them.
posted by pompomtom at 6:08 AM on July 12, 2009


banner ad going around that consists of disturbing before-and-after pictures of a weight-loss plan, with attached text that reads something like "Lose weight by Obeying one rule!" Or "One rule to losing weight: Obey."

Or the one that shows nasty-ass pictures of yellow teeth in hopes of selling tooth whiteners. I mean I realize the biggest hurdled in online advertising is getting people to notice the ad but I don't think showing, frankly, ugly photos of unappealing body parts is the best way to go.
posted by delmoi at 6:58 AM on July 12, 2009


Evony's American community manager ran a contest to "find the next queen!" The comment thread is just as tasteful as you'd expect.
posted by liet at 7:29 AM on July 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


They missed one of the Evony ads.

This sort of thing is hardly new, of course. The Evony ads are just particularly egregious because they're so relentless about it, and because the game is so obviously crap.
posted by ixohoxi at 7:55 AM on July 12, 2009


Yes! That's the one I've been seeing today and had to pick my jaw up from the floor when I realized it's that same game. wth?
posted by dabitch at 10:37 AM on July 12, 2009


I just don't understand why everyone isn't adblocking. Really. The only way I see non-text ads anymore is in articles about them. What is it? Do people feel an ethical obligation to not adblock? Can't figure out the tech? Haven't heard it's possible? Having gradually moved to only public radio/MP3s, only HBO/Showtime/DVDs, and internet ad- and flashblocking...seeing or hearing advertisements of any kind has become kind of jarring.
posted by TochterAusElysium at 10:41 AM on July 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


"But my point is, despite all the objections one could raise on the grounds of marketing principles, taste, and common decency, it must be working for them in some sense of the word. Otherwise, why would they keep digging the hole deeper?"

It may be working for the ad people in that the ads generate click-throughs, and that's the metric the ad department is using to judge the success of the campaign; not the people who actually play the game due to the ad. They may not be able to relate the number of click through to the number of players, or may just have been hired to increase the number of people visiting.

They may be calculating something like "We get X number of people clicking through, and of that Y percentage is staying and signing up." Even if Y is a tiny percentage, if the increase of X is large enough, the campaign may be considered worthwhile.

Of course if they really wanted to generate revenue they'd match their product to their ads, and have boobs all over the game. It could be a porn version of Civ.
posted by happyroach at 11:20 AM on July 12, 2009


I have to think I probably should be one of Evony's main targets. I have tons of free time, I like things that are free, and I'm a sucker for dumb games involving fantasy settings. But the first ad I ever saw for it was the stupid one with a woman's shirt nearly falling off while she leans back in ecstasy with the words "Start your journey now, MY LORD," and there's just nothing dignified about that.
posted by Ms. Saint at 1:22 PM on July 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Evony is terrible.
posted by dopamine at 2:21 PM on July 12, 2009


I just don't understand why everyone isn't adblocking. Really.

Ads aren't really that annoying. I did install adblock once to get rid of one these incredible annoying ad that popped up whenever you moused over some doubly underlined text. Ads were pretty much gone until my computer died and I got a new one. And I hardly noticed the lack of ads.

The thing is, most of my online time is spent reading RSS feeds and some blogs which don't advertise heavily and of course metafilter as a logged on user. So I don't see that many ads to begin with. And there's always a risk that something might silently break without you ever noticing -- like some cool online video or something (someone mentioned kongregate got put on a block list) I'd rather be annoyed then worried about missing something, even though i do know they work pretty well.
posted by delmoi at 3:38 PM on July 12, 2009


The funny thing about those 1UP pages is that, because they put only two ads on each page and thereby maximize their click-throughs, I got two different Evony ads just on the first one.
posted by Halloween Jack at 3:42 PM on July 12, 2009


Wow. Just... Wow.

I am a male gamer and I get sick looking at all the gratuitous sex appeal nowadays.

So much so, I coined (or at least I think I did) the term "whore armor".
posted by Samizdata at 8:36 PM on July 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


On further thought, I remember the sad story of Stevie "Killcreek" Case.

Cute normal gamer girl beats Quake devs, settles down with a game progreammer for Id (who shall remain nameless), and ends up a plastic doll modeled after a male gamer's fantasies.
posted by Samizdata at 8:40 PM on July 12, 2009


Nothing amuses me more than the fact that their login screen and "full site" is 500-ing right now.

The "play now secretly" and "discreetly" captions are really odd—they're full-on implying that their game is sexual or porn-based in nature, such that you'd need to play under cover of darkness or using incognito mode... when in reality, it's (ostensibly) a boring Civ clone...

I wonder if this isn't the result of some bizarre A-B testing where they're pitting their regular advertising: "Knight shouting whilst wielding axe! Quick line about free online EPIC gameplay!" against "Complete non-sequitir sex imagery and caption to imply the game is a wild sex-romp with no other details at all about the actual gameplay, and hopefully we can keep a few of the now-very-disappointed clickthroughers and convince them to try our game"...

I mean, it really just appears to be a throw-it-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks strategy. If they assume that they won't lose any potential customers if one clicks the sex ads before they click the regular ads first, thus sullying their image, or alternatively, they assume no active members will see the sex ads and stop playing because of that, and they don't otherwise care about the potential impression something like this gives people-who-likely-wouldn't-have-ever-played-to-begin-with, well, why not try something completely crazy like this?

Especially if, and this is the worrying part, it's actually at all successful.

Definitely a bizarre approach, but intriguing to watch them spend their ad dollars that way.
posted by disillusioned at 12:58 AM on July 13, 2009


I just don't understand why everyone isn't adblocking. Really.

what's the name for people who can't imagine what it's like to be anyone but themselves? sociopaths? I digress. consider those suffering from corporate computer setups. I know folks who have been stuck with IE6 for years because of silly policies. I know programmers who aren't allowed to configure their systems to their likings because of sox rules. I know people who don't want to think about all that. technical stuff is just not sexy to them. a coworker of mine still uses hotmail because she "knows how it works."

not everyone can block banners. not everyone wants to, as shocking as that may seem.
posted by krautland at 2:02 AM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Pretty soon Evony adds will feature nasty, rotting teeth with the caption "Evony won't rot your teeth! Play now!" Or semi-nude fat people with the caption "Combined with Diet and Excersise, Evony won't make you fat!"
posted by delmoi at 8:00 AM on July 13, 2009


A parody.
posted by mecran01 at 5:22 PM on July 13, 2009


Not just dodgy ads but spam and malware apparently.

Has Evony become the most despised game on the web?
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:25 AM on July 26, 2009


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