Sony pulls controversial PSP ads

[UPDATE]: Publisher confirms termination of ad campaign, apologizes to those who were offended.

Debate over a recent Sony billboard in the Netherlands advertising the release of the Ceramic White PlayStation Portable in the region was fittingly white-hot last week. That's when an ad featuring a Caucasian woman holding a black woman by the jaw in a threatening manner was decried as racially insensitive.

Today, one of those who criticized the ad and condemned Sony for running it, California Assemblyman Leland Yee, instead commended the publisher. According to a statement from Yee, Sony has pulled the advertising campaign and apologized to anyone offended by it.

"I am pleased to see Sony taking responsibility for their racially charged ad and appropriately pulling it from the marketplace," Yee said. "Sony did the right thing by recognizing their insensitive mistake and apologizing for offending many of their customers."

Yee was backed in his condemnation of Sony by representatives from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the civil rights education group Sojourn to the Past. Sony originally defended the ad, saying its only intent was to contrast the colors of its two models of PSP. It still didn't sit well with Rick Callender, president of the San Jose/Silicon Valley NAACP.

"Their attempt to contrast colors clearly created controversy and sparked painful feelings in the global community," Callender said. "Hopefully in the future, Sony will employ a better litmus test to their ad campaigns to determine if they will be sour to the taste of worldwide consumers."

[UPDATE]: A Sony representative confirmed for GameSpot that the ads had been pulled, and offered the following statement:

Whilst the images used in the campaign were intended solely to highlight the contrast between the different colors available for the PSP, we recognize that the subject matter of one specific image may have caused concern in some countries not directly affected by the advertising. As a result, we have now withdrawn the campaign.

We further recognize that people have a wide variety of perceptions about such imagery and we wish to apologize to those who perceived the advert differently to that intended. In future, we will apply greater sensitivity in our selection of campaign imagery, and will take due account of the increasingly global reach of such local adverts, and their potential impact in other countries.

According to the Sony representative, the company had only received a single complaint about the ads from within the Netherlands.

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Discussion

377 comments
blueflamedino
blueflamedino

is Sony run by dense dudes? i mean if their team was genious enough to engineer a PS3, they should had seen this coming, I mean they can pu a totally new type of computer together from scratch but couldn't figure racial insensitivity, whats up with that

SlimTimm
SlimTimm

And for da peps who keep saying we should stay outta foreigners affairs.... I Agree...BUT. DAT PARTICUAR AD WUZ GOING 2B PRINTED in da US. I dont belived it wuz intended 2 b racist, (dat would be insane to assume)but it wuz STUPID ADVERTISING cuz da girlz could have been holding a psp.

SlimTimm
SlimTimm

FighterHayabusa wrote: The ad is just like a joke a that bombed for a stand up comic. Its not mean spirited, its just inappropriate and unfunny. The ad is terrible because you dont use a persons skin color to sell a product, unless its a lotion product or suntan lotion. Otherwise it's just wrong. Its not about who's beating who, it's just the whole concept is trash. It's not overtly racist maybe, but its like Sony made a fruedian slip and the ad acts as a rorschach test for the public. The worst part about the ad is it doesn't tell newcomers what a PSP is, so all the see is a white woman beating on a black woman. For all they know a PSP is a new right wing hate group. Ads are supposed to attract new customers not tick off old ones. Oh its easy to say"its just rascim get over it." When your not the victim of racism. Its not fun getting pulled over and searched and harrassed by the cops every night you drive home from a party. But your just a bunch of video game playing potheads, so no one should expect any intelligent statements from you. And to all the retards who say get over racism , why dont you get over the O.J. Verdict. After O.J. getting off white people will deny racism exist to their death. The NAACP did the right thing if your an upset rednneck who cant handle that go f--- yourself. -i couldn't have said it better myself.

BranKetra
BranKetra moderator

I don't understand Sony's PR. It's so bad.

gtimandan
gtimandan

There are two things that I have problem with in this scenario; Sony's position, and our involvement in other country's affairs. Being a caucasian American, I will dutifully agree that "we" involve ourselves entirely too much in everyone else's affairs, but we only have our meddling administration to thank for allowing such nonsense to occur in the first place. America is no longer the land of the free and has become more the land of Be Politically Correct OR ELSE, or, Do As We Do And Also Do As We Say You Should Do. Not unlike America's government, I also concur that Sony is arrogant and beyond insane at this point. Due to that, I will not be purchasing any more of their hardware, software, controllers, et al, beyond the stuff I already have. Absolute power corrupts absolutely - a quick look at American gov't and SCE reveals two shining examples. I hope the day comes where we DO mind our own business and internalize our own affairs since, Lord knows, there's a lot of "broken" stuff here that goes unattended to, and for entire decades. We need to take care of ourselves before telling everyone else how to do business. America is but one country, but we're seeing to it that it will become all countries. With a single religion. Hugs, Danno

MadAirPsycho
MadAirPsycho

People are way too sensitive. Get over it already. The PC police want everyone to be exactly the same. They say they celebrate diversity but they try to supress it at every turn. F that. Asian Power!!!

MasterAsh42
MasterAsh42

Assemblymen Yee said: "Sony did the right thing by recognizing their insensitive mistake and apologizing for offending many of their customers." The use of the qualitative adjective "insensitive" really makes Yee's "comendation" sound like a backhanded compliment. . .Can't this man reign it in even in victory?

jigga9788
jigga9788

i mean i see what there trying to do im not going to go as far to say its racist but it was in bad taste they really should have thought that one thru a little better

Mausthemighty
Mausthemighty

I personally don't mind the ad. It is not much of an issue here in the Netherlands. But like other people have said, Americans mind your own business! No-one makes a fuss about it over here (Netherlands)! Deal with your own issues, before you criticize other countries.

ProfessorRaine
ProfessorRaine

you know, it's just an ad. it isn't offencive. if you people take offence to that, guess what, you're too sensitive.

Cloud14356
Cloud14356

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

ssjtrunks6
ssjtrunks6

They need to change this news..this stuff about this add, is getting boring... no one should care about this ad, they were not trying to offend anyone..its just a color its not relivent to anything about video games

Link564
Link564

I have a couple things to say First is that bad plubicity is still plubicity so they probaly did on purpose and next is people are way to senstive about this I dont call me rasist because I get called different names because of my skin color

DRUNK_CANADIAN
DRUNK_CANADIAN

Presently racism is critiqued greater than necessary. Yes its wrong to produce/promote racism yet people today overeact to every situation. Unless it is a direct attack on an individual, then it should be ignored, oversensitivity causes many of our modern problems.

ewmgreendawg
ewmgreendawg

ok let me give some people a quick lesson on modern advertising, 1. its expensive 2. its evolving 3. free advertising is good. anyone ever hear the term "the only bad publicitiy is no publicity?" well this puts sony all over the internet, all over tv...its free advertising. even if its a little negative and many argue that it isnt, this ad was made controversial on purpose so that it would be a raging story thus creating free advertising for sony. and even for the people who think its racist....they'll forget about it after a couple months and the subconsious effect of the ad will keep sony on everyones mind.

Real_Dutch
Real_Dutch

This is just stupid, regardless of the contents of the ad, what do Americans have to do with an ad in The Netherlands. Those politicians really try to make a problem out of everything, even if its in an other country and they don't have anything to do with it. Why can't they just stick to their own "problems", it seems like they only want to create more. Everything for some publicity I guess. They don't want anybody to interfere with matters of American politics, then please keep your collective political noses out of other countries too!

MASTERCHIEFUSMA
MASTERCHIEFUSMA

its just an ad, just gotta let ppl do business, if ur offended by that then well u need to change ur views or find something better to do other then complain bout a sign.

ImChau
ImChau

maybe sony was testing if the netherlands are sensitive to racism

trueplaya4real4
trueplaya4real4

2 argue both sides, when i first looked at the ads i saw a black psp getting owned up by a white psp, and it was represented by people. which is clever and may be a good idea for other countries but its probably the worst idea for an american advertisment ever, seeing as just a few decades ago the U.S was in a civil rights battle. i am african american and i agree that yeah it is a double standard only because after the civil rights movment one was made, i mean theres hundreds of double standards for every race if white people just have to deal with the sterotype or double standerd of being racist then they should just deal with it like ever other race has. truth is, this is the country we live in and thats how things work, not fair.....but thats life. also 2 adress the other ppl that say black people are whining and r more racist than whites and all this other stuff thats just stupid, look at the people that run this stuff and make the decisions in the naacp, they all lived threw the civil rights movment, of course there going 2 be easier to set off, they just dont want history to repeat its self and they just dont want people to forget wat happend. The problem here is that people want a change right now insted of a gradual one eventually ads like this will be accpetable but for now its still offensive, and the fact of the matter is sony has relized this and pulled the add. p.s. wtf is phsycho_atdawn walking about?

grave_rob
grave_rob

i'm not an ad exec. but i could come up with 50 better ad ideas within mins...

ninjoslot
ninjoslot

WOW!!! such venom people!!! i'm still on the 1st page and i've got like 7 more pages to read. the ads been pulled 4 d love of gaming. geez. lets just let it be.

sabalog03
sabalog03

I honestly think alot of people are misunderstanding the word "racism" which as evolved over the years. In this day in age racism doesnt really start with hatred anymore but starts with ignorance. I'm African American and I can bet money that the person who made these ads wasn't racist if we take into consideration all of the pictures taken for this particular ad campaign, however they need to also take into consideration what people may think about this ad and if anyone may take this ad offensive(a mistake on their part or maybe a sign of ignorance). Sony did the right thing when taking this ad down, there are better ways to introduce the white psp. Anyone who says people are over reacting about this ad is only showing their own ignorance. Also, I'm not a huge fan of the NAACP I think they tried to handle the situation to much in a radical way by saying "Sony doesn't care about black people" I think they need to grow up and tackle tougher issues.

Blue_Dragon731
Blue_Dragon731

It's overreacted, i'm from the netherlands, and there was another poster with a black woman, doing the same with the white woman. So it was balanced. But off course it was a american that made a problem of it. Don't get me wrong, i like americans, but they overreact to much, at my opinion.

viralrush
viralrush

jk jk haha i have a few cool black. friends. jus referring to rest. buurn. oh and there jus half black (Y)

viralrush
viralrush

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

packman266
packman266

So...freaking...ridiculous. Aren't we able to have people just be people? Groups like the NAACP say they want to abolish racism, but their ultimate goal seems to be to keep stirring up resentment. I look at that ad and I see two PEOPLE meant to represent gadgets. These activists look at it and see a white oppressor and a black person who needs to be protected. I personally don't think these groups give people of color enough credit. Always screaming, constantly emphasizing the differences between the races and calling for special consideration. It's like a patronizing hand sheltering minorities from the cold, cruel world. Never consider that these people might have the strength and grit to take their piece of the world. If you look for racism in the world, you need only look at these groups to get your fill. The billboard shows two people. Their skin tone doesn't imbue it with anything terrible if you see black people as people, equal in every way. If the billboard offends you, maybe you should take a long hard look at where the REAL racism is.

lamech777
lamech777

'Bout time. The ad should never have been thought of or even made it past the conceptual stages in the first place, much less actually considered. Sony management= @~%'s!!!

FortuneC00kie
FortuneC00kie

The only explanation to this entire ludacris ordeal is: The people from the NAACP are extremely racist.

YPRikku
YPRikku

Well I guess they'll shut up now..they got what they wanted..now lets stop talking about it

jaefrmbk2k
jaefrmbk2k

yo I KNOW what i'm talkin' baout! i'm from the year 3000 dammit! ...YOU might not know anything about the cell but Tom Reeves, VP of semiconductor and technology services at IBM DOES. came straight from the horses maouth. & before you get it twizzy (or twisted for you lames), i'm getting a PS3 NOT a 360. like i sed if you DON'T know what YIELDS are LOOK IT UP. or better yet: http://www.reed-electronics.com/electronicnews/article/CA6350202.html?industryid=21365 and READ it. LIKE i SED this is gonna make it quite a bit harder to get our hands on our beloved PS3 anytime soon

ssjtrunks6
ssjtrunks6

They would not know anything about the cell chip, the ps3 has not even been released yet....people are just saying that because, other people are dumb enough to just believe the rumors about products, and they wont even think to try out the product....I mean look how many people just go and buy a new game system even know they have never played it...so it they believe rumors before they actually see it their selves that proves that they can easily be shut down from words that other people say..I never believe something unless I see it for myself..that would also mean that they are gulable... SEEING IS BELIEVING, i dont go along with words, that is why i dont support something unless it is a visual, words dont mean squat, so that will mean nothing that is a secondary source, its not primary, that is all passed down..like i said, there is not visual.

jaefrmbk2k
jaefrmbk2k

contrary to popular belief ppl, any publicity is not always good publicity. Rockstar's a prime example. the ad is pulled so deal with it. Sony know better than to ever let this happen again. they really cannot afford any negative publicity right now. btw, if you thought it was hard to get a 360, wait till the PS3 launches. word on the street is the yields for the Cell chip are terrible. if you don't know what i mean by that go look it up.

rpgisforme
rpgisforme

Has everyone gone insane? The ad had nothing at all to do with rasicm. It has everything to do with money. Just because it shows a black woman and a white woman doesn't mean it's racist, it is not insensitive, it is an ad for a game system in a new color, that's it that's all no more, no less, give it a rest. People need to stop trying to read what's between the lines because there's nothing there. What you intended to read is there on the lines for everyone to see in black and white ( pun intended )

noliboy27
noliboy27

im from the philippines and there is no racism here whatso ever..as a matter of fact, we love and welcome foreigners....but here's a scenario: lets interchange---- change the white girl on the AD to black and black to white, but with the same position and body language. ...lets see if anybody gives a rat's ass

RPGMaster13
RPGMaster13

That isn't racism. That promotion isn't favoring one race over the other, it sounds creative, and obviously isn't intended to offend anybody. If YOU misinterpret the image, that's your problem. It seems like more and more people are looking for an excuse to be offended. It isn't even in our country, let alone our continent! (For those of us in the US). The accusers have no right to make Sony pull the AD because they aren't the ones affected by it. They don't know what's best and they aren't responsible for another country's ads.

buggyman
buggyman

Not condoning racism here, but the ad was put in the Netherlands, NOT in the States for a reason. Sony known damn well the US "world police" attitude and knew they'd get record amounts of hate mail if they posted the ad here. They know European people really don't care, and nobody there complained or demanded it be removed. They saw it for what it was, and AD. But no, some rich guy that wants his name on a NAACP building had to go cream himself over it and make a big show. It was an ADVERTISEMENT. I swear, any time something white and black are too close to each other the NAACP is all over it screaming racism. Yes, the ad was a little edgy. I'm surprised that douchebag Jack Thompson isn't suing someone over this yet.

satjome
satjome

racism is wrong, pure and simple, and if you think that people are overreacting, you are just agreeing with that racism is ok (it's not)

jaefrmbk2k
jaefrmbk2k

argue your racial & cultural insensitivity all you want. why would anyone care about the other two ads. seems to me like a weak attempt by Sony to smooth over what they knew could be a racially offending ad. i guess they were attempting to be 'edgy' but obviously it didn't work. i can't imagine that they didn't have any idea about how black ppl would feel about that ad...Interesting that they released the ads only waayy in Holland. A single complaint from Holland or NO complaints from Holland, Sony soon learned as some of you others feining ignorance that they are an INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION and whatever they do; good, bad or racially insensitive will be INTERNATIONALLY KNOWN sooner than later. Wrong is wrong no matter where in the world it happens. black ppl have been in the past and are STILL discriminated against, stereotyped, judged and way worse by their skin color. some of you ppl might find that it's hard to forget race when many ppl still are insensitive to and discriminate against the black race. that's the difference. youse are really tryna argue with how ppl FEEL? please, your arguments otherwise are moot. it's funny how ppl wanna talk about cryin' & whinin' about an ad but let hackers start inflating their virtual aka "fake money" accounts in any popular MMO and watch the babies start throwing the toys out of their playpens

_Sam_
_Sam_

I'm perfectly fine with that ad

docwoo
docwoo

I love how many people who posted comments to this discussion feel that black people are wrong for being offended. Some have also said that blacks should stop being so sensitive about something that happened 200 years ago (slavery). Again, many of you seem to forget that the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's was only 40 years ago! Hell, My parents remember shopping for their first home and being denied simply because they were "colored" (they were told this to their FACES by the realtor!!!). Do you really think the world's views on race have changed that much since then? Wake up! Don't EVER deny racism exists, especially if you are the part of society that doesn't experience it blatantly!! And for those of you who believe that black people "blame" all of our problems on racism, I'm a college-educated African American with a VERY good job. Life has been pretty good to me but I STILL admit that racism exists because I've experienced it many times in my young lifetime. SO WHAT if the ad was posted only in the Netherlands?!!!! We're all part of the same global community. Our views affect them and vice-versa. The world is a LOT smaller than you think!

juvinwo1
juvinwo1

lol.....ok, but the damage is already done lol, i just think people are too damn sensitive.

VegetaMaelstrom
VegetaMaelstrom

If you guys think this ad was controversial, just wait until you see the ads for the WHITE (some people will idiotically equate silver with white) and BLACK PS3's. I can see the NAACP salivating already.

Shadow338
Shadow338

You people are getting to caught up onrace. It was the NAACP that had the ad moved, not black people as a whole. No one asked for them to do it, it was their IDEA as in NAACP, you people need to learn to read

wazzdan
wazzdan

Well I guess its racist in a certain way but I think people need to stop paying attention and getting mad for such stupid things such as this because its after all just another STUPID AD that you see and its not the worst is all I have to say.

zey2k
zey2k

They only showed one ad this is stupid. nowadays i think black people are more racist than white ones.

i_love_my_ds
i_love_my_ds

well at least something good came out of all this......... lots of people found out about the white psp....