Microsoft Pulls 'Sexist' Mad Libs-style Xbox One Campaign

Microsoft has come under criticism following a marketing stunt that some people have branded as sexist. The stunt involved a letter that was posted on Microsoft's Xbox One website and was designed to help gamers convince their partners that they should get an Xbox One. The problem was that many people felt this letter was geared towards helping men ask for an Xbox One or gain permission to purchase one for themselves.

Dubbed 'We Got Your Back,' the letter features blank spaces along with fill in the blanks/Mad Libs type suggestions to help users complete their letter. Unfortunately, some of the suggestions, along with the tone of the letter, came across as a little sexist. These suggestions include the implication that the person reading the letter prefers to knit or dance than play games. Naturally, female gamers were a little bit upset that this marketing campaign seemed to ignore their existence and took to Twitter to voice their outrage. Men also seemed surprised that Microsoft would let something like this go live. Microsoft then changed some of the default answers and apologized (CNet reports that 'knit' was ditched in favor of 'do your taxes early') but the letter didn't last too much longer and eventually disappeared altogether.

The letter in its original form was quickly branded as sexist and condescending on the Twittersphere, but Microsoft was no doubt trying to demonstrate the diversity of the Xbox One as a platform. Highlighting the fact that the Xbox One is not just for gaming has been Microsoft's tactic since the console's unveiling. Unfortunately, in doing so, the company implied that certain aspects of the Xbox One were only interesting to certain people. Not a clever move, especially since the ESA's 2012 numbers on sales, demographic and usage data for the computer and video game industry state that 47 percent of gamers are female. In fact, according to the ESA's data, women 18 or older represent a significantly greater portion of the game-playing population than boys under 17.

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  • sha7bot
    Political correctness permeates everything. Who knew that asking your wife permission to buy something was misogynistic.

    I asked my wife, who does Knit and game, if I could get the R9 290X last month. (She said no, my 7970 is enough) Little did I realize I was sexist.

    M$ shouldn't apologize for trying to have a little sense of humor.
    29
  • bmwman91
    I find the 47% number sort of odd. Is that including everything from Crysis 3 to Candy Crush? I know a ton of girls/women that play casual games on the iPhone and iPad, my wife included, but none of them consider themselves gamers and neither do I. If the games stopped working tomorrow, they couldn't care less. She would probably chuckle at the commercial since it is somewhat true. However, I guess nobody can have any fun anymore with women being a protected class, at least in any instance where a comparison with men is drawn. Now, if the ad was flipped and promoting female users with a little humor at men's expense (even to the point of actually being offensive), there would not be so much as a peep about it. I guess that describes most sit-coms on TV these days...the attractive smart wife with the obese buffoon of a husband.

    There have been multiple articles on Yahoo Finance about the "middle aged white male problem" tech companies' boards have. Can you imagine the media uproar if someone wrote an article about the NBA's "young black man problem" or nursing's "woman problem"? The media loves race-/gender-baiting everyone to boost ratings, even at the expense of society.
    20
  • Stimpack
    People are so overly sensitive about everything. I hope you don't decide or dance or knit, ladies, because you'll become a part of the problem! and obviously it's not sexist to imply that knitting and dancing are something only women would do. Why can't it be viewed as a normal activity? If the letter was a wife writing to her husband that he would knit or dance or whatever the hell else, where would the sexism be then?

    It's a joke that everyone's primed and ready to jump on every little thing. Sexism is a real issue, and this trivial BS just makes people look silly and clouds the honest issues that actually exist.
    14
  • Other Comments
  • JD88
    Could Microfail really be any more out of touch?
    -14
  • jimmysmitty
    47% is much higher than it used to be.

    But welcome to the modern world. No campaign can truly cater to everyone. Like Dr Pepper 10s campaign saying its the manliest diet soda, meaning all others are feminine.

    Again, welcome to the modern world where you have to make sure your advertisement has people that look like blank, colorless, sexless slates or you might offend someone. Then again that might offend someone still.
    11
  • sha7bot
    Political correctness permeates everything. Who knew that asking your wife permission to buy something was misogynistic.

    I asked my wife, who does Knit and game, if I could get the R9 290X last month. (She said no, my 7970 is enough) Little did I realize I was sexist.

    M$ shouldn't apologize for trying to have a little sense of humor.
    29