Man, I don't envy marketing and PR teams. It seems like we never have to wait too long to hear the news that some other company (gaming or otherwise) has done something short-sighted that's resulted in needing to issue an apology.
Granted, sometimes these short-sighted mistakes are maybe a bit more obvious than others — anyone else remember the Dead Island Riptide bloody torso debacle? — but a lot of time they wind up being the result of not being able to see the forest for the trees, as it were.
Such is the case with the latest PR incident, which involves Microsoft and a very unfortunate attempt at imitating a zombie's cry. The company was quick to apologize, but being the internet, it's probably not something that will be immediately forgotten.
What Sort Of Zombie Cry Sounds Offensive?
Here's the email, take a look at the subject line.
If you were wondering just how exactly Microsoft could make such a mistake, well... imagine receiving an email with the title "NNNNGGGHHHAAAA" and nothing else. Nothing in the email title mentions Dead Rising 4 — really, the only indication it might not be an outright hate-inspired email is the fact that it's from the official Xbox email address.
Is it the word people mistook it for? No. But if you say it out loud — which I don't recommend trying in public, for obvious reason — you can probably see how it would be interpreted as offensive. Plus, zombies don't quite enunciate as well as a living person, so you can see why some might see the sum total of the email to be a subtle attempt at sneaking in a racial slur.
Of course, it's not likely that that was intended, but it's exactly the sort of thing Microsoft (and all companies) should probably be on the lookout for before sending out a mass email like this.
Responses To Both The Email And The Apology Are Mixed
As with anything of this nature, not everyone is on the same page regarding the email and Microsoft's subsequent (and swift) apology. Some people found the apology unnecessary and the reactions to the email overly sensitive:
While many others, despite not necessarily being offended, thought it was just plain dumb to have made it out into the wilds of the internet:
Personally, I think someone at Microsoft should have caught it beforehand — after all, if it can be interpreted a certain way, it will be interpreted that certain way — but I can also see how it would have slipped those overseeing the email's launch. Really, my question is, why is the letter "R" nowhere to be found? Zombies (even those in Dead Rising games) tend to growl or roar more than whatever noise the email was trying to convey.
What do you think of the email blunder? Overly angry user response or dumb, short-sighted PR mistake that should have been caught ahead of time?