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

By - Source: via Huffington Post | B 51 comments

Letter has since been pulled and is no longer available online.

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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  • 11 Hide
    jimmysmitty , December 2, 2013 3:42 PM
    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.
  • 29 Hide
    sha7bot , December 2, 2013 3:43 PM
    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.
  • 14 Hide
    Stimpack , December 2, 2013 3:47 PM
    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.
  • 0 Hide
    southernshark , December 2, 2013 3:47 PM
    You can't say anything without some liberal jerk being offended by it. I suppose with women though, that you can't expect them to have the same thick skin as a man.
  • 10 Hide
    cobra5000 , December 2, 2013 3:51 PM
    Heaven forbid someone gets offended. If their skin was any thinner, you could see through them!
  • 7 Hide
    falcompsx , December 2, 2013 3:53 PM
    who cares if someone was offended? jesus people are so damn sensitive these days. Grow some thicker skin and vote with your wallet, or shut the @#$% up.
  • 2 Hide
    jimmysmitty , December 2, 2013 3:54 PM
    Quote:
    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.


    I am in the same boat. Although for my PC I don't ask as much as its my only hobby (aside from comics but I don't buy much) that I put a lot of money into.

    My wife games and does know how to knit. But I ask her for most everything.

    I guess people don't realize that wives tend to be the final word more often than not.
  • 5 Hide
    nonoitall , December 2, 2013 3:55 PM
    I agree with Stimpack. Plenty of guys knit and dance. I find it sexist that people find this sexist.
  • 20 Hide
    bmwman91 , December 2, 2013 4:11 PM
    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.
  • 6 Hide
    childofthekorn , December 2, 2013 4:12 PM
    Took to twitter to announce their being upset made me LOL pretty hardcore. First World Problems, FML. If you don't hit every demographic with every marketing campaign it'll always be considered sexist, racist, biased. People need to stop being such pussys and get over it. They should just follow up with one for women and say their SO's are working on their "hot rod" or getting back from their "fight club". I know quite a few women that hate video games and love to knit (that aren't geriatric). Are these women "Taking to twitter" suggesting those women do not exist? You can be apart of the sex and still be sexist.
  • 10 Hide
    childofthekorn , December 2, 2013 4:13 PM
    Quote:
    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.


    47% is stretched to include social networking games. Which I find is outrageous to see the feminists trying to use these stats on improper demographics.
  • 11 Hide
    p05esto , December 2, 2013 4:15 PM
    Those feminist idiots need to get a life. They make it seem like women actually feel like they do, it's insulting. NOTHING MS did there was wrong or offensive.... it's these feminist lezbos that are offensive.
  • -1 Hide
    childofthekorn , December 2, 2013 4:28 PM
    Quote:
    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.


    Wow, way to go. Did you make sure to purchase her a new apron and vacuum cleaner for her birthday?!!?
    /endsarcasm
    Your post made me Lol.
  • 8 Hide
    childofthekorn , December 2, 2013 4:29 PM
    Quote:
    Those feminist idiots need to get a life. They make it seem like women actually feel like they do, it's insulting. NOTHING MS did there was wrong or offensive.... it's these feminist lezbos that are offensive.


    This, all day, everyday.
  • 0 Hide
    JD88 , December 2, 2013 4:30 PM
    The issue here isn't just about this particular piece of advertising, is about Microsoft's general attitude towards everything. They attack everyone left and right in ways that wreak of desperation. From scroogled to the iPad ads to the Bing Challenge. Just make a good product and let it speak for itself. Don't try to convince people what they need or want. If a product or service is that good, it will sell.
  • 0 Hide
    unksol , December 2, 2013 4:45 PM
    How could it be sexist? Its a joke but logically there are three main scenarios here, and none of them apply to most women.

    1. Your wife/SO is a gamer and so are you. You/she doesn't need any help with the convincing.
    2. Your wife/SO is not a gamer and you are. You need help convincing her that its ok to waste money on a toy.
    3. Your wife/SO is a gamer and you are not. And they have much better ways of convincing you just like always and don't need a stupid madlib.
  • -1 Hide
    SonSon1 , December 2, 2013 4:48 PM
    Quote:
    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.



    No, that was not sexist, but, it's alarming that you married your mom.
  • 9 Hide
    b23h , December 2, 2013 4:49 PM
    "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."

    Why is this written as if it would be anything other than obvious? The total number of women aged eighteen and older is no doubt much larger than that of boys aged under seventeen.

    In other words per that statement we have women aged 18 to 75 plus vs. boys aged 0 to 17.....
    Of course there are more women gamers in that wide spread of ages vs. boys in that narrow band.
  • 0 Hide
    bmwman91 , December 2, 2013 5:04 PM
    "2. Your wife/SO is not a gamer and you are. You need help convincing her that its ok to waste money on a toy."

    A better strategy is for the guy to locate her purse and retrieve his balls. Unless she's supporting you financially or you won't have money left for groceries, anyone in a normal relationship can go ahead and TELL their partner that they are buying a toy rather than ASK for permission. Maybe if the toy is a new car you should discuss it, but not so much a $500 game box.
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