Adverlab proprietor/Hill Holiday emerging media strategist Ilya Vedrashko gives us his review of GameSpot’s (not to be confused with GameStop) annual “Most Despicable Use of In-Game Advertising” honors. The big winner is Pepsi, which ends an already stellar 2009 complete with misguided apps and forgetful secretaries with a hat trick of sorts thanks to this honor from the videogame resource site.
Somehow, pristine Pepsi vending machines found their way into Capcom’s Bionic Commando, which the publisher says is more of a tribute to the soda brand created by the developers. After all, sugary soft drinks and gaming do go hand-in-hand if the stereotype holds true.
Still, GameSpot wasn’t having it, pointing out the ubiquity of the vending machines and their excellent condition in a post-apocalyptic setting. The site editors add, “[It's] as if the Pepsi machines of the future were constructed out of an indestructible alloy while the rest of the world burned to the ground. Soda may be refreshing on a hot summer’s day, but this despicable product placement consistently reminds you that you are playing a game, and it will leave a sour taste in your mouth.” But worst…in-game..ad..ever? Probably not.
Other “winners” included a T-Mobile sidekick in the Tony Hawk Ride game and an iPhone mysteriously appearing in Return to Mysterious Island 2: Mina’s Fate.