Opinion: Hey Marketing Suits: “Geek” is Not a Brand.

Opinion: Hey Marketing Suits: “Geek” is Not a Brand.

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Abject misogyny in marketing—particularly in video game marketing—is nothing new; especially here in the Philippines, where feminism is frowned upon by our traditionally patriarchal society. Let’s face it: our local publishers and distributors know their audience; and that audience consists of hormonal male sociopaths that are easily malleable. Ergo, each locally-published video game needs to have a pretty face stamped in front of it to garner gamer approval. And while that type of marketing might seem innocuous, I think it represents something far more sinister: pigeonholing “geek” as a brand and—by way of FGDs, pie charts and marketing statistics—making the average, virginal twenty-something male gamer as its brand ambassador.

I’m going to have to single out one Jinri Park as a recent example of this dicey marketing. I hold nothing personal against Ms. Park; I think she’s an incredibly good-looking young lady (one seemingly genetically engineered to appeal to our country’s lowest common denominator), and certainly very smart to capitalize on an audience that’s certainly willing to lap up anything she touches. That’s her job, and I respect that. But god dammit seriously, will whoever’s managing and/or booking this chick stop it with the blatant and downright pathetic attempts to capitalize on “geeks” already? It’s simply cringe-worthy and I can’t believe that it actually works. And while I fully support exploiting idiots for monetary gain, please keep it the hell away from my hobby.

526804_496594483736680_1944676872_nMaybe I’m overreacting a little. But take a gander at the image to your left. Don’t you feel exploited just by looking at that? From the cat ears, down to the proud proclamation that “[she] love[s] geeks;” to me it’s a very solid challenge by cagey, cynical marketing-type folks to our collective intelligences. Let me put my serious face here for a second: gamers, please demand more from your hobby. If parading around a set of women who are clearly strippers is what passes off for a video game launch in this country, then maybe we should—as a community—stop and think for a second.

I’m going to try to say this in the least condescending manner that I can muster; but maybe we all should at least think about and critically analyze the way these big companies market to us all. It’s easy to say that the jejemons and all of the shitheels that unironically subject themselves to this kind of marketing are to blame; but the overall mindset of apathy and defeat is what’s evidently allowing this trend to continue. “Whores gotta whore” just isn’t an acceptable answer anymore.

I’m not saying that we should wage a civil war or a revolution against local publishers and distributors to try to get this dreck out of our computer screens. At the same time, I think the market has evolved and that local companies need to be more socially responsible and embrace the fact that their demographic is growing. And yes, women are part of that demographic now.

And that’s perhaps the worst part of this mess: now you have underage chicks who barely engage in the hobby branding themselves as “girl gamers” and plastering their half-naked photos all over Facebook now. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but in my opinion it creates the worst kind of feedback loop: one that consists of (a) vulnerable young women seeking validation and approval from a larger audience, and (b) that larger audience (i.e., your average pederast/gamer that has never—nor will ever—see a vagina his entire life) encouraging and enabling this kind of socially unacceptable behavior by way of validation, protection, and “white knighting” in the vague hopes that these models will bang them. Or hold their hand. Or look at their general direction. And they won’t—none of you nerds will receive a second of any of these walleyed models’ time because more often than not, they’d rather be some rich dude’s trophy wife. Look at any purported “gamer girl” Facebook profile and you’ll see the worst kind of beta-male simping that the Internet has to offer.

Going back to what I said about social responsibility; toy and video game distributors are again enabling this feedback loop by actually thinking that it’s smart marketing. It’s not. How can you even attempt to engage an audience of mouthbreathing clithangers when the only positive mental image that they will respond to is a half-Korean chick very transparently pretending to participate in the same social circle that they’ve dug themselves into? Sure, you have a pretty face to sell your product with, but does that even matter if your audience doesn’t really understand what you’re trying to sell in the first place?