In response to the hated Cash Shop, a number of forum members have suggested in-game ads and cross-promotions with companies like McDonald’s, Apple, and Starbucks. This alternative could continue to be used to bring in revenue, since it was relatively non-intrusive. The thing is, I knew that Playfish already used this idea last fall and winter because in-game ads appeared on my game screen in the food shop for months.
Playfish employee named Mark, “The Pet Society Mayor,” lied outright on the forum, saying “There’s no adverts in Pet Society.” Unfortunately for him, I remembered the in-game ads and had proof of them. I used to see a flowers ad and a blockbuster ad through last fall and early this year (I took this screencap on Janaury 10, 2009):
After struggling to get a response about the advertisement for the past day, I commented that “I also find deception insulting” to Mark’s claim that “There’s no adverts in Pet Society.”
Mark then posted:
“That’s not an advert that’s an offer. “
To which I responded:
“Come on, really?
If they’re paying to have their name broadcast, it’s an advertisement. If you choose to call that an “offer,” then that’s just semantics.”
Mark then responded:
“Well clearly I can’t go into confidential business, but an advert is when a company pays another to display their logo/etc., whereas an offer is a collaboration with another company. Two different things. This was just another way for you to earn coins. Not an advert.”
I responded to his post and included the definition of advertisement from answers.com:
“LOL. Doublespeak? That’s semantics.
Call it what you want. That’s an advertisement to me.
1. The act of advertising.
2. A notice, such as a poster or a paid announcement in the print, broadcast, or electronic media, designed to attract public attention or patronage.”
Mark continued his denial:
This was a way for players to earn coins. It wasn’t an advert. They’re two different things.”
At that point, I gave up. There’s no point in continuing to converse with someone who’s insulting my intelligence.
According to Merrian-Webster’s dictionary, this is the definition of an advertisement:ad·ver·tise·ment:
1. the act or process of advertising
2. a public notice; especially: one published in the press or broadcast over the air
To me, it’s clear that the poster on the wall of the food store is an advertisement, whether Playfish chooses to call it one or not.
What do you think, is the Pet Society poster an advertisement?