Culture

Sony pulls 'sexy doctor' PS Vita ad, reports say

An ad for PS Vita, in which a female doctor appears to equate gaming with masturbation, reportedly appears on Sony's YouTube channel and then disappears.

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Is this 'sexy doctor" helping Sony's cause or infecting the brand image? Amundson Rivers/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

It's well established, I'm told, that gaming is not the exclusive pursuit of young boys with personal issues.

How odd, then, that an ad for the Sony PS Vita might not have reflected this to the fullest.

Multiple reports suggest that this ad emerged onto Sony's YouTube channel on Friday from where it miraculously disappeared soon afterward.

I can only surmise that such a disappearance might have been connected with the fact that the ad features a cliched female doctor equating gaming with masturbation.

Here's some of her dialogue: "I know you've already done it today. And I bet you really enjoyed yourself."

Here's some more: "How many times did you do it yesterday? Are you afraid you're doing it too often? In your bedroom under the blankets. Or perhaps you prefer the kitchen, or on the toilet?"

The denouement is that you don't have to feel ashamed any longer, because with Remote Play, you can even play with the lady doctor.

Of course I wish I was making this up. It seems so, well, heavy-handed.

Still, some things to note about this ad: No one, to my knowledge, has yet come forward to brand it as a fake.

The doctor speaks with a British accent, and Europeans are a touch more relaxed about sex than Americans, who are a touch more relaxed about violence. It may well be that this ad was designed for European tastes.

Moreover, the fact that Sony hasn't disavowed it as fake does suggest that it emerged with the approval of someone within the company.

The most hardened cynic might even suggest that such a piece was released with the specific intention of creating noise, in the full knowledge that it would be immediately removed.

I contacted Sony to ask about the ad's history and whether, if it was approved by Sony, the company has regrets. I will update, should I hear back.

Some will hiss that any objections to this oeuvre will have come from the politically correct police. One thought, though, is whether it does anything positive for Sony's image.

Isn't it the case that the biggest challenge for brands like PlayStation is to attract those who might still consider gaming the narrow preserve of a certain type of boy?

Shouldn't the role of Sony advertising be to expand its franchise, rather than allow it to dip into hoary cliche?