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Gravestones Advertising Video Games? 188

An anonymous reader writes "In an insane bid to drum up publicity The Guardian tells of Acclaim Entertainment who are seeking to enlist the help of the recently bereaved, well the poorer ones anyway, to help promote their latest game." My favorite comment is a spokesman for the Church of England who said they wouldn't allow it saying "There was enough fuss with plastic flowers in churchyards." Anyway, I just found this really surreal.
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Gravestones Advertising Video Games?

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  • Well, why not?

    I mean, its not like the person is going to be offended by it.. they are dead, they dont care.

    • I don't know, visiting my grandparents' grave and seeing some garish advertisement hyping exciting undead combat is hard not to associate with my loved ones' corpses being dug up and slugging it out. Lets have some respect for the dead.
  • by schwatoo ( 521485 ) on Saturday March 16, 2002 @01:19AM (#3172052)
    "You too can have a body like mine."
  • How low can some people get?

    Oh, six feet, apparantly...
  • This, I fear, is what happens when people take being fragged in Forsaken far, far too literally.
  • Sad... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by clambert ( 519009 )
    This really won't take off. Cemeteries will most likely put a ban on the gravestone advertising, as it would really detract from the visiting experience -- even if it wasn't on the gravestone you're visiting.
  • I think that they should also put ads on the gravestones of first posters...
  • by Edmund Blackadder ( 559735 ) on Saturday March 16, 2002 @01:19AM (#3172057)

    If Acclaim was able to put their adds on gravestones they wouldnt get much benefit out of it.

    People that go to graves are usually not young and even if they are they usually associate the experience with sad feelings.

    Who would want to be reminded of that when playing a game?

    Thats one of those marketing tricks, where the purpose of the whole excercise is to get denied and get in the papers.
  • by Champaign ( 307086 ) on Saturday March 16, 2002 @01:20AM (#3172059) Homepage Journal
    First I wasn't fast enough to get an advertisement driven PC, then I couldn't get a dot-com to give me a VW Beetle painted with their colours... now I'm too alive to cash in on this...

    back to exchanging goods and/or services for money for me
  • by y2dt ( 184562 ) on Saturday March 16, 2002 @01:21AM (#3172062)
    John Smith
    born 11/12/1980
    fragged 5/15/2002
  • by JoeLinux ( 20366 ) <joelinux&gmail,com> on Saturday March 16, 2002 @01:21AM (#3172064) Homepage
    "Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to mourn the loss of Frank Jones, who in his life-time, talketh and layeth the smack down like in WWF Smackdown. While troubles seemed to come his way like chairs at the Undertaker, he handled it gracefully, like those fine manager chicks...."

    Fun stuff. Liven up any Eulogy...

  • This really is going too far. This is not just insulting to the one buried beneath the gravestone, but it is offensive to many of those that are visiting a graveyard.

    According to the article,
    "However, Matthew Carrington, chairman of the Outdoor Advertising Association, said that any attempt to advertise on headstones would require planning permission from local authorities whether the land was public or private."
    That's not gonna stop them--all it takes is a few bribes for these local authorities.
    • That's not gonna stop them--all it takes is a few bribes for these local authorities.

      Generally, it's best to instead take bribes for nice low-profile illegal activities that won't cause the public to march on your house and set fire to your lawn.

      Besides, they want the authorities to reject this. Why pay people to advertise on tombstones when you can get twice as much exposure for free just by having the idea shot down and widely reported?
  • Ultima was a great series until EA got a hold of it and ruined it.

    Ver amo cor

    PS: When you say "the guardian" wrote it are you talking about a big giant red guy who wants world domination or the english newspaper?
  • by Chiasmus_ ( 171285 ) <ayatollah_hyperb ... COWom minus city> on Saturday March 16, 2002 @01:23AM (#3172071) Journal
    You know, I've always wondered why people didn't sell the walls of their houses to be used as billboards. I guess this article explains it all:

    "It is illegal to put any advertising up outdoors without planning permission"

    - which is really a pretty good law, I think, since the last thing I want to see while driving down the street to my home is tampon ads in my neighbors' windows.

    In the U.S., though, I can't help but think that these laws can't possibly apply to political campaigning, since there are picket signs all over half the lawns in the country every two years or so.

    Could politicans use that same loophole to do graveyard advertising? Could I legally replace my great-grandmother's tombstone with one that said, "If I were alive, I'd vote for Nader!"
    • - which is really a pretty good law, I think, since the last thing I want to see while driving down the street to my home is tampon ads in my neighbors' windows.

      If it were my neighbor, it would be douche-bags.

    • Could politicans use that same loophole to do graveyard advertising? Could I legally replace my great-grandmother's tombstone with one that said, "If I were alive, I'd vote for Nader!"

      In Chicago, the tombstone could leave off the first part of that...
  • I [] am [] appalled []. Is [] nothing [] sacred [] ?! []
  • Marketing Manager: Ok team, we need to promote this new product.

    Marketing Drone: What's our budget?

    Marketing Manager: Nothing. Come'on team, think outside the box!

    Marketing Drone: We could propose to do something so ridiculously profane that the media will pick up on it and do all our promotions for us.

    Marketing Manager: Hmmm... that's good. Your on to something. But what would disgust people so much as to make a stir in popular media outlets?

    Marketing Drone: We could rent space on Harry Knowles' tummy rolls.

    Marketing Manager: *gag reflex* Good god no... Less horrific.

    Marketing Drone: Ummm.. How about advertising on grave stones.

    Marketing Manager: Ok. Leak it to the press.

    Marketing Drone: On it. Maybe even slashdot will pick up on it. They are our target audience.

    Marketing Manager: What's a slashdot?

  • Man! What a bad taste! I already have enough ads on my life so please dont force me to take more to the other world... This is a fucked up idea, this guys are really sick, i mean, games are games and just that, people goes to the cementeries to remember life, this just dont mix, we are getting closer and closer to those old science fiction books.
  • Jesus Christmas!

    Why not just embed a fscking LCD screen into the cement tombstone along with a small camera to identify the age/sex of cemetary visitors? I mean, if you'll go low enough to engrave on the damn things, you might as well go one step further and dynamically change your ads to target specific individuals (i.e. 8-year old girl -- show an ad for the latest Mario game; 15-year old boy -- show an ad for the latest shoot-em-up game; etc...).

    m o n o l i n u x :: The Few, The Proud, The Linux Hackers. []
  • I'm not in marketing, but I always thought the goal was to stick signs and billboards somewhere that LOTS of people would see them. I don't think graveyards fit that description. People go there, quite often only on holidays or anniversaries or whatever, to visit a couple specific graves and then leave. I know of no one who actuallys says, "oh gee, while we're here let's go look at all the other graves." I highly doubt this would become widespread enough that you would be forced to encounter tens or hundreds of advertising graves on the path to the one you were visiting, so the only people seeing one of these posters will be the people who the companies paid to put it there. That sounds like a lot of negative cash flow to me.
    • Hey, some people really do like to wander around graveyards... ;) Seriously, it can be pretty interesting. I enjoy it myself, though I haven't been to one in a while. However, it's only really interesting with older graveyards, so I doubt this marketing tactic would work on me very well.

      I suppose in fifty years or so, I might spy an ad for Quake IV buried behind some weeds in a spooky old boneyard... ;)

  • by Neck_of_the_Woods ( 305788 ) on Saturday March 16, 2002 @01:29AM (#3172095) Journal
    You played right into the hands of the marketing dingbat that thought this up. You think they are really going to do this. No, but you just handed them more hits and advertisement to there target market than they would have ever had any other way.

    They tricked you, you tricked us, they got the word out. How many people clicked on this, and now know what shadowmanII is, what it is for, and who made it.

    Nice job, you should charge them for click throughs....

  • This seems like a really neat idea. I don't understand why people are all in a fuss over it. Dead people don't care what is on their tombstone. And if the family wants to do it, why not? I think it is much more outrageous how much people are expected to pay for funerals and things of that nature.
    • Im already forced to see hundred of ads, i want a peacefull free from shit mind life, whats next?, the weddings?, the honey moon (mmmmmmm....)?, What the fuck up is next? your bathroom? the moon?, those dumb fuckers think they can make us all buy all kind of stuff just by puting it on a wall... im really worry about ppl who does this...
      • Re:Why all the fuss? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by SomeoneYouDontKnow ( 267893 ) on Saturday March 16, 2002 @02:45AM (#3172293)

        Agreed! If some of these marketing people had their way, we'd be exposed to ads 24/7.

        As for ads in the bathroom, check out your local bar. I've seen many with miniature billboards on the wall behind the toilet. I guess they figured if people read what folks scrawl on the bathroom walls, they'll read anything. Although, I'm not sure if I'd want my product associated with a bar bathroom.

        And we can't forget about the scheme Swatch cooked up in which they were going to beam ads from a ham radio satellite, blatantly in violation of regulations stating that ham radio frequencies are noncommercial.

        Then there was the one where this company would wrap your car with ads in the same way that city buses are done. At least they were going to pay a decent amount for it. I guess they were a victim of the dot-bomb fallout.

        As for ads on the moon, I don't know about that, but I do know there was a plan back around the late 1980s to launch a huge plastic sheet into low orbit. It was supposed to be visible in the evening sky. I think the original one was supposed to be a green dot, but real ads were to follow if that one was successful.

        I'm waiting for some company to see if they can cut a deal with the government to put ads on money. After all, we handle a lot of it (well, some people do, anyway), and it passes from person to person quite often. It's only a matter of time, I'm guessing.

      • Last I checked the moon had 'CHA' engraved on it, so I guess advertising isn't a stretch.

        God, please SOMEBODY get this.

    • Dead people don't care what is on their tombstone. Speak for yourself. Some of us dead still lead active lives.
  • It's True (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Oculus Habent ( 562837 ) <> on Saturday March 16, 2002 @01:30AM (#3172099) Journal

    Good taste has officially died and has been replaced with morbid curiosity.

  • this is really fucked up.
  • A spokeswoman rejected suggestions that Sony was responsible for creating an "edgy" advertising culture around its console which may have galvanised Acclaim Entertainment's marketing tactics.

    On the ShadowMan 2 website, the game is described as incorporating "fierce and gruesome" fighting. It involves users playing a New York policeman who has a "living dead" alter ago who is seeking a confrontation with the devil. He has magic and voodoo weapons to help him.

    It's amazing. Even when these sensationalist so-called "journalists" have a legitimate chance to take a slam at an insane move by the gaming industry, they have to step over that line of sane journalism to get just one more ounce of sensationalism. They could very legitimately slam Acclaim for what they're doing, but they have to go over the edge and go after Sony for creating an "edgy advertising culture", as well as the content of the game. Par for the course for Guardian Unlimited...

  • Somehow if this is "Stuff that Matters" I'd hate to see what DOESN'T matter. I know I'm a troll with this post.... hrm.
  • "Don't eat at Joe's"
  • Think about it, how many people are likely to see this ad, repeatedly?
    is it the target demographic?
    I can't see anyone imagining you'd be able to sell these ads for more than a few dollars (no more than 5, I think).
    No one would see them, no one who saw them would care,
    and, anyone cheap enough to put these on gravestones wouldn't be getting a gravestone,
    The ONLY reason I can imagine putting one of these on a gravestone is to spite the dead. I can think of a few people's gravestones I'd like to take out ads on...

    Like another poster said, the only object of this is to get it into the news, free publicity.
    Parts of the article sounded enough like an ad to surve the advertiser's purpose...

    "On the ShadowMan 2 website, the game is described as incorporating "fierce and gruesome" fighting. It involves users playing a New York policeman who has a "living dead" alter ago who is seeking a confrontation with the devil. He has magic and voodoo weapons to help him."

    Anyhow, imagining trying to buy an ad in every graveyard in the country...

  • I have to belive this is an april fools joke let out of the bag two weeks early. Nobody in their right mind would do something THIS STUPID.
  • just advertise on slashdot's comments page and piss off the same number of people!

    (Sorry, I just had to. An HP ad just plowed down my screen on this pageload)
  • It's amazing what you can find on some grave stones []

  • Is this a case of Play Hard, and Play SO HARD, that Play-Till-You-Drop-AND-THEN-YOU-STILL-PLAY-IT-SIX- FEET-UNDERGROUND ??
  • by Our Man In Redmond ( 63094 ) on Saturday March 16, 2002 @02:00AM (#3172175)
    Ashes to ashes
    Dust to dust
    Our game is a hit
    But our ads are a bust
  • The other day I was at the cemetary paying my respects to my dead grandmother when I thought "This is boring. I'm gonna go buy a video game." But I couldn't think of one that I wanted, so I just went home.
  • They're trying to target the new "walking, flesh-eating zombie" audience. I'm sensing commercial tie-ins with Resident Evil.
  • by ksb ( 517539 ) < minus cat> on Saturday March 16, 2002 @02:11AM (#3172202)
    I quite Like the idea of having just a nice simple:


    on my headstone ;)
    • by DennyK ( 308810 ) on Saturday March 16, 2002 @03:35AM (#3172362)
      Athiest geek's headstone:

      mv John.Smith /dev/null


      • Assuming the premises of your joke are that you want to get rid of "John.Smith", by moving it to /dev/null you'd end up replacing your null character device with a standard file. This standard file would slowly bloat until the system became unusable or the filesystem got filled up. /dev/null should only be used as a part of a stream, for example in pipes. On UNIX, one does what I presume you meant by unlinking a file, so the command would be rm John.Smith. HTH.
  • Well (Score:3, Funny)

    by quantaman ( 517394 ) on Saturday March 16, 2002 @02:11AM (#3172203)
    I didn't think it was possible but I guess you can get lower than spammers!! I think we may have a late entry for the 101 Dumbest Moments In Business []!

  • This [] was in the same issue.

    Didn't you get the memo?

    Taste in video game advertising died with Daikatana.

  • How about removable placards on gravestones that McDonald's, Starbucks, or any big company could use to advertise.. for the audience of the sermons of the recently deceased, or for people who casually walk to their beloved ones for a cry on a Sunday afternoon. Or maybe, local M.D.'s could use them to advertise their early-warning cancer detection services, blood tests, MRI scans, etc. Sounds to me like like a major marketing event. Why not park a McDonald's stand right in the graveyard? Don't people get hungry during those things? eek..
  • by InterruptDescriptorT ( 531083 ) on Saturday March 16, 2002 @02:16AM (#3172217) Homepage
    Quoth the Raven, "Everquest".

    Don't know why that just popped up...
  • I find this story repulsive and, not surprisingly, insensitive to death. Looks like the office junkies are as desensitized as most of North Americans are. Isn't TV and website advertisement enough to drive their game into gamers' heads?

    A spokeswoman for the company... said: "It's a dark, gory type of game and we thought it was appropriate to raise advertising to a new level."

    Who is the target audience here? I wonder how many people are going to say to themselves "Wow, I think I'm going to buy ShadowMan 2 now!" after going to see their mother's or father's grave who passed away a few years back, possibly from being shot to death.

    Ya, economy is low and I don't blame Acclaim for trying to be original, but this is plain ignorance. I'd like to kick the person in the ass who thought up this absurd idea, and two kicks to the CEO or whoever put this plan into gear.

    Advertisements draw attention to themselves and take it away from other things. When you take attention away from something as personal as mourning the death of a loved one, it's simply rude. There are times to buy a new game and there are times for mourning. They should never intersect.

  • Wow... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nurightshu ( 517038 ) <> on Saturday March 16, 2002 @02:17AM (#3172221) Homepage Journal

    ObDisclaimer: The first bit of this may seem to wander a bit offtopic, but it'll be relevant by the end. <UsedCarSalesGrin> Trust me.</UsedCarSalesGrin>

    I once had my best friend tell me I was morbid and quite possibly insane when I detailed what I want done with my corpse.

    It's not all that terrible, I think. For the past three years or so, I've really thought that it would be cool to have a webcam mounted inside my coffin (powerlines and networking cable and all that run to it too, of course). After I die, I want people to be able to log on to a website and check my decomposition.

    The University of Tennessee, I believe it is, maintains a forensic "Body Farm" where hundreds of corpses are decomposing in various conditions. It's closed to the public (for obvious reasons), but I think there should be a little more openness in society about the mechanics of death. It's fascinating because it's so secretive. I think by mounting a small light and a webcam inside my coffin, it might give the world a fresh perspective on thanatology.

    Of course, maintaining the site would cost some money, and I won't exactly be around to earn any. Thanks to Slashdot, I now know that Acclaim will be the first company for whom I'll do a salespitch. Any other takers?

    • I once had my best friend tell me I was morbid and quite possibly insane when I detailed what I want done with my corpse.

      When I told my friends that I wanted to have my corpse ripped apart and eaten by wild turtles, they only referred to me as 'odd'.

      My friends must be more accepting of difference than yours :)

    • Chuang Tzu's take (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jcsehak ( 559709 )
      I think there should be a little more openness in society about the mechanics of death.

      When Chuang Tzu was about to die, his disciples planned a big funeral. He asked "Why not just leave me on the ground?" They said "Because then crows and kites will pick apart your body."
      "So?" he replied. "Above ground, I get eaten by crows and kites. Below it by ants and worms. What have you got against birds?"
    • For quite some time now I've been saying that I wish to be served as the main course at my own wake. My corpse should be properly butchered of course and the usable meat chopped up and put into a nice stew.

      Not surprisingly all of my friends wish for me to have a very long lifespan ;->
    • Personally, I want to be buried unembalmed in a wooden coffin, with a tree planted over me. That way over the years it'll slowly break me down and thus to dust I'll return.

      Cremation is a disgusting method of disposing a body. First it's roasted and burnt until everything burnable is gone. Then the remains are fed into a grinder to reduce the bits of bone and teeth to particles. It's a nasty way to go.

      Embalming is even worse. Why would anyone pump preservatives into a body? It's not as though it'll remain unrotted forever.

      I think that cremation, embalming and closed-casket funerals are ways for people to pretend that death isn't real. It is real, and it is a fact of life. Corpses should not be destroyed; they were human once. They should not be preserved, but should be allowed to return to the stuff whence they were formed. They should not be hidden, as something to be ashamed of, but given due honour as the mortal remains of men.

  • I want a video game on my gravestone! That would be games in the afterlife, w00t.
  • To each his own i guess. Though, IMHO, it's a bit tasteless. This culture views death a little too seriously for a tombstone to be a billboard.

    If i *WERE* to be buried, i'd want to be put under in a photon torpedo tube. Is that geek, or what?

    I'd want my vault to be a Sun E5500 rack.
  • by nomadic ( 141991 )
    Another example of how the people who work in advertising and marketing not infrequently have absolute no sense of taste, morality, or dignity.

    Some of these guys make lawyers and politicians look like saints in comparison.
  • by NeMon'ess ( 160583 ) <<flinxmid> <at> <>> on Saturday March 16, 2002 @02:57AM (#3172309) Homepage Journal
    Over my dead body.

  • ...and now for the ultimate camper... (tombstone epitaph)
  • Generally speaking, one does not anticipate being *Buried* in Britain. Cremation is vastly more common there, and burial in a conventional cemetary is virtually unheard of for the common person.
  • "If any of you [in the audience] are in Marketing, or Advertising... kill yourselves."
  • Don't prejudge; some people might want to be remembered for "hours of unstoppable, hot blazing action".
  • Then that would assure me that my grandchildren and thier children will visit my grave. Plus the revenue from the quaters will help pay for my spot in the cemertary.

    Imagine playing Ghouls and Goblins in a cemetary.
  • Wow. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by illturner ( 559313 )
    The boundaries of bad taste are really being tested with this.

    What makes it worse, is that this game, if good, might be popular for a couple of years. Do these ads come off after a certain amount of time, or will your gravestone be forever marked with an advertisement long after the game is history?

  • It got the story on slashdot didn't it? How many other sites covered it? And of course they deny it is a marketing stunt. If they admit that up front, then the story becomes much less interesting. Its just not as shocking when someone admits they just want to shock you.
  • "They can have my joystick when they pry it from my cold, dead fingers."
  • For those who don't want to read the article and use Google, the game in question is Shadow Man 2: Second Coming [] from Acclaim []. In it, you play the part of Michael Leroi [] a "heavily-armed, 240 lb bad-ass". Here's a little snippet of the game's story []:
    "As a desperate New York cop drags his shattered body from a blazing tenement building, his partner and friend perishes inside at the hands of a huge, demonic creature. His death is not in vain, however, for it gives his colleague a chance to escape with the very thing the creature seeks; an enormous and ancient book, sealed shut by a series of powerful clasps...

    Some ten years later in the southern United States, a near-empty passenger train thunders through the haze of an early evening dusk, as it makes it way to New Orleans. On board, alone, sits Michael LeRoi. As night falls and the moon rises, white-blue sparks of "Shadow Power" surge from his chest and envelope him as the train's interior lights plunge into darkness. Michael LeRoi, as he does every night, transforms to become the Shadow Man."

    This is, of course, a sequel to the original Shadow Man [] (Demo []) which was a self-proclaimed "uniquely terrifying 3rd person adventure".

    Shadow Man 2 for Playstation 2 will begin shipping to North American retail on March 7th.

  • "Mr. Smith loved his family, and enjoyed his work. His two dogs, Yappy and Wappy, were a pride of his. He had great hopes for his children MoonAss, ChunckBuster, and Fillet, hoping they would go on to great deads. His wife of 45 years was the center of his life, kind of like a deadly, evil black hole. He hopes that we can continue his goals of bringing world peace, end poverty, and giving everyone ACCLAIM VIDEO GAMES! THE BEST GAMES IN THE WORLD! ONLY ACCLAIM GAMES TRANSCEND DEATH! Let us pray.
  • I can see the ad for the Wheel of Time game now...

  • If, say, a world champion Quake player gets massive fame and becomes basically identified with Quake, and dies while whichever version of quake he played was still current, then it is appropriate to approach the family and suggest memorializing his quake fanatacism on the tombstone, and offering to pay the entire cost of the funeral, plus however much they would pay for a similar size advertisement in a more traditional location.

    One other possibility- if the deceased requested prior to death to put something about a favorite game or game company on the tombstone, by all means allow it.

    It all boils down to respect for the deceased. In the first case, you are honoring an acheivement or series of acheivements he/she made. In the second, you are honoring the request of the deceased.

    Any other reason, is just disrespectful... and under no circumstances should the family pay for a funeral if the company approached them first.
  • Just went through it... You'd expect a press release about this... not a word on acclaims website about this. This article just seems absurd. There is no way this would actually be done...

    I'm hoping that this was meant as an april fools article that just accidentally got published early. Thats what it sounds like...
  • Acclaim is notorious for putting out CRAP games. "WWF Attitude" is the only game I know of that has managed to CRASH my Dreamcast. But this is really, really bad. I'm not going to buy any more of their crap games, either for my DC or for the next console I get.

    Let's hope that when the CEO of Acclaim dies he gets an ad for adult diapers on his tombstone. Or worse.

There's no future in time travel.