Thursday, September 02, 2010

A Beautiful Disaster

What to do when your company is being partly managed by perverts?

Well, whatever they do privately is their own business. I'll turn a blind eye on the nubile bikini babe poster on the wall above their computer.
But when the guy who is in charge of new campaigns called together a meeting to discuss his latest brilliant plan, I didn't know I should be a little worried.

Normally our campaigns for this online game company, normally have something to do with, you know, the games we're promoting. For instance, if you log in a certain number of times in a week you get a special item. sometimes they're a little more abstract, like in-game fashion contests.
rarely, we have cross-promotion deals with stores or movies...for some bizzare reason our FPS shooter game had a tie-in with "Robo-geisha". come to think of it, the previews for that movie looked pretty raunchy. And our cute game recently (well, ok, 6 months ago) had that tie in with a maid cafe, to promote the new in-game maid costumes on sale.

So there you go. Just shows this has been going on for awhile without me noticing it. But anyways, I didn't think much about it or care, until recently. Just lately I've been put in charge of a lot of miscellanous projects that require programming with game data.
These projects: campaigns.
These campaigns "idea man": bikini poster boy.

The first campaign I developed was for was one called 'Tashiro Masashi's temple", the main challenge to create a magic 8-ball like bot to randomly answer users questions.

I was mentioning it to takeshi, when he snorted and his eyes bulged out.
"you mean *The* Tashiro Masashi? The famous celebrity turned pervert who was arrested and never allowed on TV again?"
uhm, maybe? I googled this guy, and the first image that showed up on Google's image search was a mustoiched man taking an up-skirt picture of an unsuspecting booth babe at an auto show.
Right, that guy.

So for the life of me, I couldn't see any connection to our games, and the only reason to have this campaign was to create a bit of buzz among our users. The reason for that partiular 'celebrity'? ... he was cheap.

Emboldened by this successful campaign, bikini poster boy called us for the fated meeting. His next big plan? A cute - girl voting campaign. Some random girls were to be put up on a special voting page of the site, and if you vote for them, you can see 'special data' and get an email from them.

The guy's eyes lit up as he described how you would have to register for our site to vote and "see their data". "You can always rely on pervy power!" he giggled excitedly.

Yes, he said exactly that, I kid you not.
I tried very hard not to roll my eyes at the meeting, since it had already been approved by the higherups. The cheif of the design team, my friend I went to korea with, was a little more forthcoming with her concerns.

"This game you're putting it on the site of, its target audience is girls. Maybe you should make this a .. guy voting system".
I laughed in delight. Immediately his face turned serious. "We already got the contracts for the girls. But maybe next time!".
So anyways, before leaving on summer break I spend a good two weeks developing this stupid pervy voting system, but of course the dummy data I worked with was benign. While developing, I got lost in the details of coding and made it to the best of my ability, leaving the last ten percent or so for my coworker.

When I got back from summer break, the first thing I did was check on the status of the project. I was supposed to be released the week while I was gone, yet it wasn't up on the site.

My coworker, in a hushed voice, turned me to our games forum page.
A huge number of posts all mentioned the campaign, nearly all extremely negative. One stood out more than most: a thread called "Petition against the 'too-beautiful voting campaign'". This one thread had over three hundred replies by unique users.

I will quote you what they said, roughly translated from the japanese : (for those that want to test their japanese chops, here is the link

"definitely stop it."
"I'm 100% against this disgusting campaign".
"Gross, this is the worst event ever." etc etc. the list goes on and on.

The company issued an apology and retraction, and just like that, three weeks of work went down the toilet.

And yet, I couldn't be happier!!~ bikini boy is no longer in charge of campaigns, so at least for awhile, "pervy power" is going to have to take a back seat.


Blogger Fugu Tabetai said...

We don't really have any crazy marketing at Amazon - I really think our company does a good job at not trying to trick you into shopping here.

But the "adult" portions of our site are crazy. I swear, some of the stuff we sell would be HR violations in America. Like, mouse pads.

6:54 PM  
Anonymous Dusty said...

Hmm... it's like he's a walking stereotype. Reminds me of my old Japanese boss and his friends... They were all the stereotypical pervy Japanese man.

10:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm really glad there was such a backlash too! The lack of any real feminism in Japan and casual acceptance of sexism always used to really annoy me...

I guess it's pretty difficult to say "hey, i have a real problem working on this sexist crap" at work, but hopefully the feedback you've had from people on the forum will a) make him think twice about relying on "pervy power" and b) make it easier for you and anyone else who thinks it's sexist crap to say so! Ganbare, Kyra!!

Kim x

12:15 PM  
Blogger Kyra said...

Update! breaking news!
Tashiro Masashi was recently arrested for cocaine possession.
So that project was taken down too... what an idiot!

1:57 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home