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Gruesome Poker Ad – Banned
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Gruesome Poker Ad – Banned

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Violent advertisements are no new news. Almost every year you have few advertisements that are thrown off air for being too violent, abusive, suggestive, and vulgar. Even the most liberal communities find those objectionable. But, for the first time it seems that such an advertisement has come from the rather conservative gambling community.

The controversial advertisement this article discusses about was from the casino of PokerStars. The advertisement that aired in Germany recently set off all the censorship alarm bells right away. The content of the advertisement was rather violent. This is somewhat surprising as to how could they mix poker and violence. The game is generally very peaceful, with mild ladies and gentlemen ruminating and drinking when sitting across a table. The part where the people lose money may lead to stress and tension, but it is mostly internal. Rarely does it happen that a sore loser erupts. Nevertheless, the security is always there to escort them out, which means the situation cannot escalate to a more interesting kick fest.

So what exactly did the advertisement contain to portray the mild-mannered game of poker as a gruesome and violent act? The advertisement had a number of people playing poker and bumping (killing) fellow players off as the game progressed. The killing to was not something very polished and the methods of dispatching the players were far more objectionable than anything else. The ban on the advertisement also casts major aspersions on the very idea of the advertisement. It seems that the advertisement makers have taken a very realistic view of competition at the Poker table or have seen too many reruns of Casino Royale. Maybe a mutant game arose after combining Russian roulette and poker, which is portrayed in the advertisement. Following this advertisement, casinos and gambling joints may find themselves adding many new rules to the poker rulebook. You might even find guidelines such as “do not stab a fellow player with the broken stem of a wine glass.” And yes, that was one of the methods used to “bury” the competition.

As far as the ban is concerned, today a global ban or censorship is really nothing more than a token action. In fact, it does more to increase the popularity of the ad than remove it from the public eyes. This advertisement is already scoring more hits than a bar room dartboard on social and video sharing sites like Facebook and YouTube. People are watching this video by the dozens and the consensus is pretty mixed. Some people do find it rather violent and some are absolutely fine with it, saying that it is funny.

All talks of bans and flawed ideas apart, PokerStars really does deserve a well done from everybody. The well done is not for any sublime brilliance in the advertisement, but for the fact that by creating such a sensational and controversial ad, they made the effectiveness of their marketing strategy jump manifold. If the ad had not been so violent, making the German government outright alarmed, we may have never noticed it.

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