Product endorsements are nothing new to the commercial industry. In fact, they’ve been around probably for as long as any of us can remember. The fact that Hally Berry is endorsing or “selling” a stick of lipstick or that Beyonce is gushing over the amazing sheen of her hair via a new shampoo product is simply a by the numbers routine that is part of American society and broadcasting. So why then, does it make me uncomfortable to watch celebrities such as Liv Tyler sit here and play a video game, but not just any video game but the Legend of Zelda?
I guess because, upon reflection it seems so alien to my own experiences with video games. That and the fact that I can see no foreseeable link of relation between myself as a game enthusiast and Liv Tyler as an actress, and this is probably the most important point. Granted, my perspective is that of a 21 year old male, not of a celebrity or more importantly that of a casual female consumer, but regardless something is just off about these kinds of endorsements. I think it’s also safe to say that among gaming enthusiasts I’m probably not alone in that sentiment.
The last thing “we” want are our treasured and beloved franchises to be horded out and simply treated as common fodder. I mean these gaming icons are things we identify with, we relate to one another with as a community, and to have Liv Tyler playing Zelda in such a staged and disingenuous manner is unsettling.
At the same time however, I don’t feel that it’s fair to paint Ms. Tyler under false pretenses. Let it be known that games are designed to be enjoyed by everyone, and even if you don’t identify with a Liv Tyler or Nicole Kidman it’s not fair to say that they have no right to play these games. The thing that I believe rubs people the wrong way is obvious, the representation of the game.
For a moment, consider who is watching this? More importantly, who is watching this online in their spare time? Most likely not a casual consumer, but a hardcore one. Secondly, who is this video made for? Not the person reading this article, that’s who.
These simple inquiries bring up a sense of comical mischief, but they’re important to ask. This video, as uncomfortable as it is to watch, is not meant for me or you. This video, as insincere is at appears, is not meant to be something I or you can relate to. This video, as commercial as it is, is meant to grab the interest of your girlfriend beside you on the couch and hopefully have her ask you;
“What is the Legend of Zelda?”
Your response; “Amazing.”
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