Ad for Democracy 3 deemed “Inappropriate”

When Cliff Harris, the developer behind Democracy 3, tried to book an ad on US gaming website Gamespot, owned by CBS Interactive, the response he received surprised him. Think of a game being deemed inappropriate, and you may think of games such as Grand Theft Auto. However while Grand Theft Auto appears to be suitable to advertise, it would appear political simulator Democracy 3 is not. Harris had tried booking the ad using CBS Interactive’s online advertising portal, but got a response saying “we can not promote any politics as this is a sensitive topic.”

Harris was clearly offended and frustrated at the decision from CBS, where on his blog he stated:

“I bet ads for games like hitman, or GTA, or games where you get slow-mo closeups of people’s skulls being blasted apart by high-caliber bullets are just fine. But discuss income tax? OH NOES THE WORLD WILL END! I saw a clip of mortal kombat on that charlie brooker documentary that made me feel sick, but apparently we as an industry are just FINE with that… It’s stuff like this that sometimes makes me ashamed to be in this industry.”

“Half of the industry wants to be grown up and accepted as art, the other half have the mentality of seven year olds. I’m pretty cynical, but I never expected my ads for a game about government-simulation to be too controversial to be shown (for money no less…)”

It should be highlighted that this decision was not taken by GameSpot, but rather handled by an external advertising agency through CBS Interactive.

Speaking to Polygon, Harris told them, “I was quite insulted and offended really, I made a game that is about tax policy and interest rates and I think it’s quite a responsible game. Anyone who found their kids learning about the way governments are run whilst they were gaming would think it was cool. So I thought, this is unsuitable? You’re kidding me.”

“I spend a lot of money on advertising, especially for an indie,” he said. “If they’ve vetoed the ad on such a ridiculous basis I don’t think they deserve the business. There’s tons of people who have had a fortune out of me like Facebook and Reddit. They don’t care.”

While CBS has every right to turn down whoever they wish, it seems outrageously ridiculous that they refuse to advertise a game which gives players the chance to manage a country, by implementing different policies and changing tax rates. From my time playing Democracy 3, not once was I offended or even thought that anything within the game could offend someone who had half a braincell. It seems that political correctness has once again, gone mad, where it seems common sense is a thing of the past.

You can promote a game which has you murdering people, but as soon as you touch politics, an area which affects everyone’s lives daily, it is deemed inappropriate. Every game, whether it is promoting sports, shooters or politics, should all have equal rights to be advertised.

Society these days seems to take offense to something on behalf of other people. I wonder how many people would find the content of a political simulator like Democracy 3 inappropriate? Not many I bet, so why are people taking it upon themselves not to accept an ad for this game, in case it offends someone?

CBS Interactive have stated to Polygon that they will be looking into the matter.

If you were curious as to what the ad looked like which caused this fuss, then here it is. Outrageous right?

Rejected Democracy 3 ad

Sources: *Polygon, *Positech.co.uk