5 Worst Game Marketing Campaigns of 2009

Best of lists are so 1999.

While 2009 was a great year for gamers and an unbelievable quantity of great titles were released, there were some marketing tactics and campaigns that caused anger, dismay and head-scratching among consumers and the media alike.

Set on Stun, noting that these “are the ones that angried up our blood and became stains on the internet,” runs down the Top 5 Worst Videogame Marketing Campaigns of 2009.

Coming in at the top (the bottom?), was Evony, the online game with a litany of complaints against it, not the least of which is using advertising images featuring scantily clad females that have nothing to do with the actual game at all.

Set on Stun scathed:

you sued people who reported on your gold-spamming and malware, you spammed blogs with comments, you ripped off image assets from other games, you and your sniveling CEO complained about people shining the light on your deceptive practices.

Dante’s Inferno from Electronic Arts came in at number 2 on the list. The marketing campaign generated controversy at every step, causing Set on Stun to write, “Dante’s Inferno & EA seemed to try to piss off anyone who came even close to caring about their game, a game by all accounts, should be pretty kick-ass.”

The marketing for Dante’s Inferno was fascinating to watch unfold. Gamers, and even the media, became so rattled after a while, that every time a bizarre story surfaced on the Internet, people immediately wondered if it was a plant/front for the game. Sometimes it was.

Professional and industry opinions on the campaign were split as well, as witnessed in a bipolar Ars Technica headline for an excellent overview of almost everything Dante’s Inferno threw at the press.

Shoot even went so far as to name Wieden +Kennedy, the firm behind the Dante’s Inferno marketing, as its Agency of the Year.

Head over to Set on Stun to see the rest of the list.

Any other campaigns you can think of that didn’t make the list?

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  1. 0
    ThomWestley says:

    It certainly looks like not everyone is a marketing and advertising guru. Although I don’t doubt that these are indeed the worst games marketing campaigns I still want to point out that wherever there is a top, there will also be a bottom of the top.easy saver complaints

  2. 0
    GoodRobotUs says:

    Sites down, but I hope ‘Limbo of the Lost’ is in there somewhere, years to write, minutes on the shelves, not exactly a campaign, but not the best example of marketting or, indeed, quality control in history 😉

  3. 0
    ThomWestley says:

    I’ve watched closely all the marketing campaigns for these games because I consider it’s better to learn from other people’s mistakes. Although Dante’s Inferno came in second in your top, they still had a solid reputation management online and managed to come out face clean. Sadly for the rest of those four in your top, they didn’t manage to do that.

  4. 0
    thefremen says:

    It said they would reward those who took a picture "doing a sinful act" with a booth babe. So maybe "grope" is too mild and the stunt should have been labeled "rape a booth babe". 

  5. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    And you’d totally be okay with someone drawing a political cartoon of Obama wearing a turban, right?  Considering some of the things you’ve said here on GP, I highly doubt it.

    You KILL Vampires. You don’t DATE them.

  6. 0
    DarkSaber says:

    And whose fault is it that they continued to advertise it for some time after discontinuing before they even updated the list of discounts to say it was discontinuedd? Not to mention the other discounts they advertise that people have said don’t work.


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  7. 0
    sqlrob says:

    Abuse of the system is moderately their fault (you put out deals and don’t expect them to be potentially abused? How the hell is anyone on the net that naive any more?).  The abusers themselves still bear the bulk of the blame though.

    The response to it though? That’s 100% entirely their fault. Web cancellations is no harder than the original web signups.


  8. 0
    Mr. Blond says:

    Just have to say, love the pic used in this article. Between this and Nikolai Volkoff in one of the articles about Russia, I take it the writer’s a wrestling fan. And if you even know about Pastamania, chances are you’re on Wrestlecrap too (I’m MolotovMocktail from those boards).

  9. 0
    DarkSaber says:

    How about the ECA for advertising discounts as one of the main reasons to subscribe after they had been discontinued or that were never actually available?


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  10. 0
    whiston532 says:

    While im unfamiliar with Evony or whatever #1 was, id put Dante on top, mainly because of how piss poor theyve been with it. It just seems like theyve missed the point of the story. Ill admit i havent sat down and read the story but ive read the basic point and it seems like its trying to show you what happens when you do bad things and basically warning you against such things. Yet the ad campaign seems to be trying to promote that stuff. Its really stupid, its like, heres a game based on a book that warns you of the dangers that face you if you sin… now go sin.

    Its like if they made a game about a group of Jews trying to escape Nazi Germany, and the ad campaign is centered around trying to kill as many jews as possible.

    They just seem to be alienating the people that the book was written for, and trying to appeal to the minds of the retarded 12 year olds who care for nothing outside of violence in games. And are willing to accept generic hack and slash games that rip of God Of War.

    FTR, im not some crazy fanatical christian but hurt over the treatment of DI. Just sayin that this has been a poor job on EAs part, trying to be edgy but missing the point just to please stupid people

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