EB Australia Apologizes For GTA V Cocaine Stunt

EB Australia Apologizes For GTA V Cocaine Stunt

EB Games in Australia has apologized for a fake cocaine display that one of its stores set up for the Grand Theft Auto V midnight launch.

Bad behavior is par for the course in Grand Theft Auto and so I suppose that if you squint while you look at it and don't think too much, cutting up lines of fake nose candy on a store counter for a big GTA launch event sort of makes sense. It made enough sense to the staff at an EB Games outlet in Queensland, Australia that they went ahead and did it, and now, in what will surely come as a shock to absolutely no-one who doesn't work in that store, EB Games has had to put out a big ol' apology for the whole thing.

"Regrettably, one of our EB Games store locations in Queensland set up an unauthorized display within the store in support of the launch of the Grand Theft Auto V videogame," spokeswoman Debra McGrath told the Brisbane Times. "The display included a white powdery substance that appeared to be some form of an illegal drug."

Fortunately for all involved, the white powdery substance was not a half-key of finely cut Bolivian flake, but "sherbert," a type of fizzy candy, and at no point did the store attempt to give away (or, presumably, sell) the fizzy-candy-that-was-definitely-not-cocaine. "This was an isolated incident, and we apologize for any offense this may cause," McGrath said.

It's hard to imagine that anyone would think that a worthwhile coke habit is affordable on a retail wage, but even harder to believe that nobody looked at this and thought that maybe it might not be the smartest bit of marketing ever unleashed on the general public. Then again, this is Australia we're talking about, and I'm suddenly starting to think that maybe they shouldn't be allowed to play with M-rated games after all.

Source: Brisbane Times

Permalink

We're sorry that we're so in touch with our media and client base that we decorated our store appropriately to make the launch of an adult game memorable.

*sigh*, they even carded kids before they entered the store. No one was going into the store for any reason other than to buy GTA V at this midnight launch.

Oh noes! Fizzy candies in a line!

I really wish more game stores would be creative like this. EB games should have just laughed at the media since this was hand tailored for the people who actually give them money, their customers. Nice to know EB is still in business. Nothing but gamestops here.

I find it pretty fitting, actually. Not like there was a sign saying "free coke, take a line".

While the back lash was inevitable, I really wish we could do cool stuff like this without the Save the Children brigade waiting to pounce.

Was there seriously anyone who wanted to buy GTA but found this offensive? Did anyone really think it was cocaine?

rees263:

Was there seriously anyone who wanted to buy GTA but found this offensive? Did anyone really think it was cocaine?

Well considering how sensitive and harsh Australia's government can be, I can see why some people might be alarmed at even a prop of illegal drugs.

Oh. My. God.

EB is still in business???

Oh, I see. "Powered by GameStop".

Andy Chalk:
Then again, this is Australia we're talking about, and I'm suddenly starting to think that maybe they shouldn't be allowed to play with M-rated games

I realise this is tongue in cheek, but it comes off as a bit of a cock of a way to put things. Us Aussies are trying hard to get our games unfiltered as we deserve, but you make the suggestion that gamers themselves here aren't mature enough to handle mature content.

Normally i'm not offended, maybe i'm just tired. But that really rubbed me the wrong way.

Food for thought.

I thought this was an awesomely fitting stunt, maybe this store deserves a finger shaking for it but no more than that. His screen would have been a downright mess by the end of the night.. yeesh, what a pain that would be to clean up.
Friend who's a manager for EB was talking about it to, and he thought it was funny, but kinda silly to do because of just this reason.

capcha: the tribe has spoken. -oh rly?

Lightknight:
Nice to know EB is still in business. Nothing but gamestops here.

EB and Gamestop are the same company now.

OT: I don't see the harm in it, and don't feel that it was news worthy, or worth apologizing for.

Honestly, as other have said, who was offended? Was someone upset that they dropped their card on it and it got dirty?

Revengineer:
I understand that this is predominately a gaming website, and as such I understand when sites like the Escapist and other game reviewers point out how backward video game censorship is in Australia. You're right, it's shitty and it needs fixing. What I don't understand is why so many then decide to take it a step further and insult the Australian people and Australian gamers directly. One shop pulled this arguably immature stunt, not the entire gaming populace of the country, so why tar us all with the same brush accusing us of being more stupid or immature than American gamers? Apart from game censorship and up until our most recent election, Australia has historically been a lot more progressive than America. We are not all dumb and most of us are not so easily offended so as to freak out about a pretty tame stunt like this. It might not feel like it to a Yankee Doodle, but the negative and derisive attitude towards us Aussies lately is a mild form of racism. In closing, Fuck You.

I hear you. Hell, I'm from New Zealand and I find it offensive.

I thought this was actually creative, but naturally it is going to rustle some jimmies because of its morally-questionable nature. Not in the best taste, but they get points for trying something new and exciting for customers.

Voulan:

I thought this was actually creative, but naturally it is going to rustle some jimmies because of its morally-questionable nature. Not in the best taste, but they get points for trying something new and exciting for customers.

I disagree, that's sherbet fizz. It's DELICIOUS. I just wanna lick it up, buy more, and repeat the process.
But really, who the fuck was going to go "OH SHIT COCAIN" there. Who WOULD go OH SHIT COCAIN that wasn't there. It's fucking obvious it's not going to be actual drugs, and it's talking about a game that is meant for ADULTS(Not that kids are suddenly too immature to play it). Australia's government needs to chill the fuck out and not be so strict on games.

Revengineer:
so why tar us all with the same brush accusing us of being more stupid or immature than American gamers?

Absolutely right.

Revengineer:
In closing, Fuck You.

Wait, what?

In future, if you want to rant about people calling you immature, you probably shouldn't cuss them right at the end of your stirring monologue.

Caiphus:

Revengineer:
In closing, Fuck You.

Wait, what?

I believe the colloquial term here is... "he mad."

Also props to those employees for having a clue. It's almost like the higher ups at EB games haven't ever heard of, picked up, or played any Grand Theft Auto product in their lives. Bunch of out-of-touch dipshits.

And I though getting my fix was going to be easier now. Damn.

I understand how there would be a problem. Imagine if you're a patrolman doing his patrolly duty, and checks up on this shop only to see what looks to be a powdery white substance sitting on a counter, with all the tools necessary to accurately separate this white powder into sellable quantities. I mean, the idea of a drug operation being run out of the front counter (which is in plain sigh of everyone) of a video game shop is ludicrous, but a cop doesn't care about that shit, he cares about suspicious activity.
So, our patrolman calls it in, police officers descend on the shop like vultures, lots of arrests and flashing lights, plus bad publicity for EB, all over an unauthorized display. So, yeah, I can understand how they'd have a problem with this and completely agree with the horse they are having over this, although I do doubt the idea that people would find this offensive.

While I think the idea of it is cool and I'd personally like the display if I were there, it seems like such a dangerous idea from a marketing perspective.

I won't pine over censorship concerns or how this could potentially trigger motion in the "Media vs Games" discussion. It just surprises me a store would have the balls or the stupidity to do this since I've studied advertising from the marketing and conceptual sides and have (or had, it's been a while and I didn't pursue that career) knowledge on the amount of things you just do NOT bloody do. The mere implication of the context of this stunt was enough to backfire and hurt that company had it gone viral, which it did, and if they weren't ready for the attention then those involved may have been or could be in some serious trouble over this.

To summarize, REALLY irresponsible from a marketing perspective, not clever.

I found this in no way offensive. I wouldnt even say in bad taste either. It was some fans expressing their support for a game thats just begining its controversial trip through the media.

In AU the game ratings are even more strict then in america, so no children were around or ever saw the event in person as the people there were all adults and fans of the game. Im also pretty sure no actualy thought it was real drugs but just a hilarious prop.

WWmelb:

Andy Chalk:
Then again, this is Australia we're talking about, and I'm suddenly starting to think that maybe they shouldn't be allowed to play with M-rated games

I realise this is tongue in cheek, but it comes off as a bit of a cock of a way to put things. Us Aussies are trying hard to get our games unfiltered as we deserve, but you make the suggestion that gamers themselves here aren't mature enough to handle mature content.

Normally i'm not offended, maybe i'm just tired. But that really rubbed me the wrong way.

Food for thought.

I think 'they' is referring to the people that actually complained about the stand, not Australian gamers in general.

I could be wrong.

I wrote my first "banned in Australia" post in October 2007 - almost six full years ago. I've written many more since then. I've also expressed my sympathy and support for Australian gamers numerous times, as well as my ongoing disappointment with the failure of the Australian classification system to adequately support them. I have also zinged. Oh, how I have zinged.

The way I see it, Australian gamers and those in solidarity with them must take seriously the fight to elevate our chosen medium to equality with movies, music, books and television. But we must also maintain a sense of humour, or we will be angry all the time, and that's just not healthy.

I zing because I love. And because it's funny. (But mostly because I love.)

Relevant to the promo itself, I think coke is a little too on point for GTA - appropriate for a Scarface game, maybe, but not really GTA. A better idea, I think, would be to do a fake "on location" radio broadcast in the style of one of the popular GTA IV stations - use the name, play the same kind of music, dress up like Axl Rose, run occasional ads for Pisswasser, that sort of thing. (Maybe slip in one or two for Friggin Chicken and see if anyone notices.) It's "real" GTA, plus great music, and nobody gets hassled for rolling out the snot carpeting.

Andy Chalk:
Relevant to the promo itself, I think coke is a little too on point for GTA - appropriate for a Scarface game, maybe, but not really GTA. A better idea, I think, would be to do a fake "on location" radio broadcast in the style of one of the popular GTA IV stations - use the name, play the same kind of music, dress up like Axl Rose, run occasional ads for Pisswasser, that sort of thing. (Maybe slip in one or two for Friggin Chicken and see if anyone notices.) It's "real" GTA, plus great music, and nobody gets hassled for rolling out the snot carpeting.

I'm sure that would have been a better idea but it's more time consuming and of course costs money compared to throwing out $0.75 sugar candy on the table and passing it as coke. Even so, Trevor's a drug smuggler anyway, it fits the scenario to some degree. I don't think they should have to apologize for anything, the only reason they should have apologized was if kids were in there and asking their parents what it is, then you ask yourself "what are kids doing at a GTA V midnight anyway?"

If it was a more minor drug, like Marihuana, I might say it was an overreaction.

But not Cocaine, it is far too dangerous to even joke about. Sure, anyone with a brain knows its not real, but it is still in very poor taste. I would compare it to having an event where they were telling "dead baby jokes". Darn straight someone should apologize for this.

Yep the illicit drugs trade and the culture of addiction, degradation, death and violence that surrounds it is an amazingly humorous party piece. Congratulations to the guys at EB Games, at a time when fans of the GTA series are already under siege by both right and left wing panic mongers, for finding yet another way to make said fans look even more like unstable and dangerous twats. Great job guys.

FizzyIzze:
Oh. My. God.

EB is still in business???

Oh, I see. "Powered by GameStop".

Yeah. Here in Canada we also got EBGames. However everything inside the stores are plastered with GameStop. I find it a bit depressing.

WWmelb:

Andy Chalk:
Then again, this is Australia we're talking about, and I'm suddenly starting to think that maybe they shouldn't be allowed to play with M-rated games

I realise this is tongue in cheek, but it comes off as a bit of a cock of a way to put things. Us Aussies are trying hard to get our games unfiltered as we deserve, but you make the suggestion that gamers themselves here aren't mature enough to handle mature content.

Normally i'm not offended, maybe i'm just tired. But that really rubbed me the wrong way.

Food for thought.

Your not the only one mate, when you read articles you don't expect that crap.

OT: Stupid EB reps apologizing for a smart store being creative.

Psychobabble:
Yep the illicit drugs trade and the culture of addiction, degradation, death and violence that surrounds it is an amazingly humorous party piece. Congratulations to the guys at EB Games, at a time when fans of the GTA series are already under siege by both right and left wing panic mongers, for finding yet another way to make said fans look even more like unstable and dangerous twats. Great job guys.

So it's okay to turn "the illicit drugs trade" to entertainment purposes within the context of a videogame, but not for advertising purposes? Serious question, because it's an interesting line to draw; arbitrary, but also one that most people would probably agree with. But why one and not the other? Are games acceptable as a "mature" medium only as long as we're willing to keep it under wraps?

Andy Chalk:

Psychobabble:
Yep the illicit drugs trade and the culture of addiction, degradation, death and violence that surrounds it is an amazingly humorous party piece. Congratulations to the guys at EB Games, at a time when fans of the GTA series are already under siege by both right and left wing panic mongers, for finding yet another way to make said fans look even more like unstable and dangerous twats. Great job guys.

So it's okay to turn "the illicit drugs trade" to entertainment purposes within the context of a videogame, but not for advertising purposes? Serious question, because it's an interesting line to draw; arbitrary, but also one that most people would probably agree with. But why one and not the other? Are games acceptable as a "mature" medium only as long as we're willing to keep it under wraps?

If said game was specifically about the drug trade, say Grand Drug Kingpin 5 or Breaking Bad the video game, then maybe the stage dressing they used would have been more appropriate. As it is though that's not really what GTA is about. And I feel this stunt badly misrepresents both the game franchise and its fans.

And as to the question of maturity, many people outside, and even some inside the gaming culture don't see these games as a mature form of entertainment. I feel that's why so many panic mongers go ballistic over such things as video game violence as they still see it only as pastime for children. Stupid stunts like the people at EB Games pulled DO NOT HELP but to further mire these uneducated critics further into their misguided and uninformed opinions. And worse actually help add credence to their livid and ill-informed prejudices.

Its a prop, games use violence all the time in adverts, why the hell is a prop so bad exactly? GTA has plenty to do with drugs, its not exactly like they're unrelated.

So basically they apologized for decorating their store in appropriate fashion. I know the costumer is always right but this is pushing a bit too far. I guess in the end everyone will be using homogenizeid sterile enviroments everywhere....

Andy Chalk:
Relevant to the promo itself, I think coke is a little too on point for GTA - appropriate for a Scarface game, maybe, but not really GTA. A better idea, I think, would be to do a fake "on location" radio broadcast in the style of one of the popular GTA IV stations - use the name, play the same kind of music, dress up like Axl Rose, run occasional ads for Pisswasser, that sort of thing. (Maybe slip in one or two for Friggin Chicken and see if anyone notices.) It's "real" GTA, plus great music, and nobody gets hassled for rolling out the snot carpeting.

Like the folks in europe that had armed, masked people telling gamers to buy gta 5 as a prop?

capcha: rebuke a wise man
Well yes, Andy is indeed a wise man, hes my favourite news writer :)

Psychobabble:
If said game was specifically about the drug trade, say Grand Drug Kingpin 5 or Breaking Bad the video game, then maybe the stage dressing they used would have been more appropriate. As it is though that's not really what GTA is about. And I feel this stunt badly misrepresents both the game franchise and its fans.

And as to the question of maturity, many people outside, and even some inside the gaming culture don't see these games as a mature form of entertainment. I feel that's why so many panic mongers go ballistic over such things as video game violence as they still see it only as pastime for children. Stupid stunts like the people at EB Games pulled DO NOT HELP but to further mire these uneducated critics further into their misguided and uninformed opinions. And worse actually help add credence to their livid and ill-informed prejudices.

Absolutely agree with your first point. Coke is a little too specific for GTA, which would have been far better served by, I dunno, a display of fake guns and cash or something. (If you wanted to take that "static display" approach.) But that's a matter of failed (or at least poorly targeted) marketing rather than inappropriate content.

There are also those who would argue that it's time to stop worrying about what "panic mongers" think, and time to start demanding that games be accorded the same respect as other forms of entertainment. Maybe that means a confrontational approach; maybe it means, instead of trying not to rile up the reactionaries, we make a point of doing so, so that we can nail this shit down once and for all. Drag it out into the light, put the boots to it and let nature take its course. More and more, I'm thinking that might just be the way to handle it at this point.

Andy Chalk:

Psychobabble:
If said game was specifically about the drug trade, say Grand Drug Kingpin 5 or Breaking Bad the video game, then maybe the stage dressing they used would have been more appropriate. As it is though that's not really what GTA is about. And I feel this stunt badly misrepresents both the game franchise and its fans.

And as to the question of maturity, many people outside, and even some inside the gaming culture don't see these games as a mature form of entertainment. I feel that's why so many panic mongers go ballistic over such things as video game violence as they still see it only as pastime for children. Stupid stunts like the people at EB Games pulled DO NOT HELP but to further mire these uneducated critics further into their misguided and uninformed opinions. And worse actually help add credence to their livid and ill-informed prejudices.

Absolutely agree with your first point. Coke is a little too specific for GTA, which would have been far better served by, I dunno, a display of fake guns and cash or something. (If you wanted to take that "static display" approach.) But that's a matter of failed (or at least poorly targeted) marketing rather than inappropriate content.

There are also those who would argue that it's time to stop worrying about what "panic mongers" think, and time to start demanding that games be accorded the same respect as other forms of entertainment. Maybe that means a confrontational approach; maybe it means, instead of trying not to rile up the reactionaries, we make a point of doing so, so that we can nail this shit down once and for all. Drag it out into the light, put the boots to it and let nature take its course. More and more, I'm thinking that might just be the way to handle it at this point.

I'm sorry to say I feel it's a wonderful fantasy, at least at this point in time, to hope or even fight for video games to be accorded the same respect as other forms of media. Compared to film prose and music, video games are still a very young industry. Films prose and music have been fighting the battle against censorship longer than most of us have been alive, and they are still fighting. Since their inception video games have held the same stigma of being seen by the uneducated as time wasting, intelligence dropping, violence inducing garbage. And sadly the brunt of the uneducated seem to be politicians and lobbyists.

Oddly enough though, I feel the main reason video games get such a bad reputation is from gamers themselves. Since it's a very interactive medium, and given the rise in online interaction where players time and again prove they just can't be civil to each other or game creators, it's no wonder it's so easy for the panic mongers to keep the so called evils of these video games in the headlines.

So I'm sorry but while I want to agree with your idea it's time we take these agenda pushing critics head on, I simply can't. The reason being is I feel all that will do is add more fuel to their side of the argument that gamers are angry, violent and reactionary individuals.

That's actually pretty clever. Maybe get a few guys in gasmasks and exterminator uniforms to stand by the door with fake assault rifles to make sure nobody leaves before midnight. Make the whole store into one big ol' criminal safehouse.

Hazy:
That's actually pretty clever. Maybe get a few guys in gasmasks and exterminator uniforms to stand by the door with fake assault rifles to make sure nobody leaves before midnight. Make the whole store into one big ol' criminal safehouse.

Or to make it as realistic to the game as possible, once the customer has made their purchase and left the store, have someone either run them over with a car or club them to death with a golf club and get their game back.

Psychobabble:

Hazy:
That's actually pretty clever. Maybe get a few guys in gasmasks and exterminator uniforms to stand by the door with fake assault rifles to make sure nobody leaves before midnight. Make the whole store into one big ol' criminal safehouse.

Or to make it as realistic to the game as possible, once the customer has made their purchase and left the store, have someone either run them over with a car or club them to death with a golf club and get their game back.

Do ho ho

image

I thought that was standard fare for EB/Gamestop visits.

 

Reply to Thread

Your account does not have posting rights. If you feel this is in error, please contact an administrator. (ID# 58872)