I had occasion to rise at the crack of nine a few Sundays back, thanks to the unusual start time of the London-based NFL game between the Falcons and Lions. The early wake-up was significant because it meant I would sit through the normal allotment of advertising during the game. I rarely see many ads watching NFL football on Sunday thanks to the commercial-free Red Zone channel.
The 9:00 kickoff meant that Falcons / Lions was the only game on. So, I happily endured the commercials, seeing them as a small price to pay for expanding my football Sunday by yet another three hours.
Much to my bemusement, one such commercial was a spot for Sony’s Playstation entitled “Friendly Competition.” The premise is that two friends playing against one another in various video-game-related scenarios morph from one character to another as they compete across genres and titles.
It’s a pretty, well-made, and otherwise-harmless commercial that has one damning flaw.
You’ll note the fine print at the bottom saying “Dramatization. Do not attempt.“
You’ll also note the space-warrior riding futuristic, weaponized equipment.
To be clear, the thing they’re telling viewers not to attempt is to fly some kind of speeder bike that shoots lasers in an effort to combat an army of robots on an alien planet. Definitely don’t do that, everybody!
Oh, and here’s what’s happening a couple of seconds later:
That’s right—the alien robot things are firing an unknown type of advanced weaponry at the aforementioned speeder bikes (that, again, you should not be riding into battle, dear consumers). The bikes then explode (probably why you shouldn’t be riding them!), and the two friends simply decide to destroy the robots on foot.
My problem with this commercial is, of course, the annoyance of having to be told not to attempt something that is not only dangerous, not only impractical, but also literally impossible.
I shouldn’t even have to say this, but . . . there is no way that I—or anyone—could genuinely attempt to battle robots on a laser chopper because neither the robots nor the bikes exist.
Yet, companies feel the need to put these sorts of disclaimers on their advertisements because even impossible scenarios can spawn lawsuits from morons. And, naturally, in our risk-averse, safety-first society, we must kowtow to the moron demographic.
To be fair, Sony appears to have revised the commercial so that the disclaimer appears during the segment where the duo rides conventional ATVs (which do exist here on Earth!). Still, if we’re seeing these disclaimers for video game commercials, I’m wondering what the next frontier might be for such onscreen warnings. Action movies? Video games themselves? WWE? Oh, right, those already happen.