By John Walker on December 4th, 2012 at 2:00 pm.
Update: Gosh, that was quick. Before any other sites had even picked up on this one, Square have removed the app. Links from it now reroute to the main Hitman page, and previously sent death threats no longer work.
Update 2: Square have issued a statement apologising for the app. The full statement is at the bottom of the post.
Original: Square Enix aren’t having a brilliant Winter. With profits pointing downward, and Hitman a bit of a stinker, they surely must be on the phone with the Humble Bundle folks, trying to follow THQ. But everything’s going to improve with their latest marketing campaign for the disappointing baldie killer! “SQUARE ENIX,” says the email that’s just arrived in my inbox, “WANTS YOU TO PUT A HIT ON YOUR FRIENDS”. Ahaha! Threaten to murder your chums! And mock them for their looks, or the size of their breasts or penis!
Don’t worry! It’s jokey! You can pick jokey reasons to threaten people on Facebook (dead link removed – Tidying Ed) with a jokey murder! Reasons, amongst many others, like:
- Her awful make-up
- Her ginger hair
- Her annoying laugh
- Her strange odour
- Her big ears
- Her muffin top
- Her hairy legs
- Her small tits
No, I’m really not making any of those up. Square have really launched an advertising campaign for Hitman in which you can threaten people on Facebook using bullying terms, mocking people for their looks, and the size of their breasts. I murdered the puppy-faced Emily Madeupname because she’s cheating on her partner! That’s a reason it offered me. I threatened to kill someone on Facebook using this advert, telling Agent 47 to identify her by her small tits, and to kill her for cheating. Then she gets to watch a video of her being assassinated! OH WHAT LARKS!
Here’s how it all hilariously plays out:
Haha! You can threaten your friends with death via Facebook too. It’s cyber-bullying, sure, and making death threats online is illegal, but it’s for advertising! All in the name of jolly good fun!
For those asking, this is the work of advertising agency Ralph, who we’re informed have won an EMMY!
Update: Since publication this promotional app has been deleted, and a statement has been issued by Square Enix. It reads:
“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.”
A good follow-up, after a swift reaction, certainly. But it remains utterly bewildering that no one at the company thought of these issues before publication.