Super Bowl Ad Watch: EA Can’t Say “Go to Hell!”

Electronic Arts (EA) has a new video game coming out on Tuesday, February 9, called Dante’s Inferno which really IS based on The Divine Comedy: Hell by Dante Alighieri. To promote it, on Super Bowl Sunday, EA is running an ad to invite 100 million football fans to join Dante on an adventure that spans all nine punishing circles of Hell; limbo, lust, gluttony, greed, anger, heresy, violence, fraud and treachery.



The 30-second spot entitled “Hell Awaits…” premieres during the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl XLIV broadcast on CBS.  Up to this point, EA’s ad agency, Wieden + Kennedy has been promoting it by telling gamers to “Go to hell.”  However, that tagline won’t be seen during their Super Bowl ad, thanks to the CBS ad police.  Thus the switch to “Hell awaits.”

According to AdWeek, EA, which is making its Super Bowl debut, had to soften the tagline because the network determined the “Go to hell” tag was too controversial.

The use of Dante as inspiration for this game is interesting.  The press release EA put out goes into detail about the Dante’s Inferno marketing campaign which uses digital media, bloggers and social networking to build awareness.

  • ‘Go to Hell’ Facebook App – This free app takes the poem’s nine circles of hell, and brings them into everyday life. With the click of a button, anyone can send a friend foe, place, product or brand to one of the nine circles of hell.
  • Special Edition Book – EA is releasing a special edition of “The Divine Comedy” in partnership with Random House and Del Rey Books. The book features an introduction written by the EA executive producer Jonathan Knight, and a 16-page, full-color art insert showcasing the evolution of characters and environments from the classic poem to the video game.
  • Animated DVD Feature – EA is releasing a full-length animated feature developed in partnership with Starz Media, Film Roman, and Anchor Bay Entertainment. The movie features six unique art styles created by six of the best animation studios in the business (DVD/Blu-Ray)
  • Comic Book – An exclusive six-issue comic miniseries created by DC Comics/WildStorm Productions featuring the highly stylized artwork of Diego Latorre and written by esteemed comic book writer Christo Gage.
  • Collectible Action Figure – A collectible figurine of the hero Dante created by NECA.
  • Hidden Messages – Dante’s Inferno online advertising will contain hidden source code and ASCII art, further bringing to life the world of Dante’s Inferno and the hell that lies beneath.

In addition to the above, since June 2009, Dante’s Nine Circles have been blogged about one month at a time. For example, “Limbo” was illustrated with a mock protest. “Greed” was illustrated by bloggers being asked to cash a check for $200. “Heresy” was demonstrated through a fictitious game called “Mass We Pray”.

Dante’s Inferno is available for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. For more information visit the game’s official web site.

blog_divineedition_smallAlso, a special “Divine Edition” exclusive for PS3 was announced.

In addition to the game, it includes developer commentaries, a Wayne Barlowe digital art book, the soundtrack to the game and a digital version of the complete Longfellow translation of Dante Alighieri’s Inferno all for the standard retail price of $59.99.

>>Introducing a new generation to Dante is a great thing.  It will be interesting to see if this video game stimulates interest in reading the classic.<<


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