The best way to convince consumers to buy an all-white PlayStation Portable instead of the original black model might not be a billboard that features a stern white woman clutching a black woman by the chin.
Europe announced yesterday they were scuttling an ad campaign launched in the Netherlands that has drawn ire in America for a little more than a week. The version that appeared on billboards last week included the tagline “White Is Coming.”
“Whilst the images used in the campaign were intended solely to highlight the contrast between the different colors available for the PSP, we recognize that the subject matter of one specific image may have caused concern in some countries not directly affected by the advertising,” the company said in a statement. “As a result, we have now withdrawn the campaign.”
A company spokesman said the campaign was never slated to run in the United States, but that didn’t keep the ad from drawing a reaction from Americans.
After the ad started making the rounds on gaming message boards, it was picked up by game blogs and, in turn, came to the attention of California assemblyman Leland Yee, whose office promptly issued a statement saying Sony had stooped to a “new low.” Yee is the author of a law that criminalized the sale of explicitly violent video games in the state of California — a law that has yet to take effect because of a court challenge from the video game industry.
Lee’s protest was joined by Rick Callendar, president of the San Jose and Silicon Valley chapter of the NAACP, who likened the ad to a minstrel show.