Over at Mashable is a post about a marketing campaign Adidas is launching in January to promote their new Star Wars-inspired line. Instead of aligning the product with the positive, heroic figures in the familiar tale, Adidas is integrating Facebook with Google Maps to create a sort of ‘game’ called the Star Wars Death Star Superlaser, in which participants are encouraged to emulate the evil Darth Vader.
The game opens with a video in which you see the street you live on — thanks to the Google Maps app, you see the buildings on your actual street — reduced to rubble. The app then allows you to subject the streets your Facebook friends live on to similar destruction at your will. The cutesy-sociopathic tagline that appears at the video’s end: “Hitting your street in January 2010.”
It’s been less than a decade since the 9/11 terrorist attack reduced a significant portion of lower Manhattan turned to dust, with the loss of several thousand innocent lives. The vast majority of Americans consider this real-world act evil, just as they considered the imaginary, vicious actions of the fictional character Darth Vader evil.
Normal people find it troubling, not amusing, to contemplate the destruction of particular people and places they care about. Normal people don’t think it’s fun to visualize the destruction of their friends’ lives, homes, and neighbors.
If the market Adidas is going after consists of sociopaths and would-be terrorists, this is one dandy promotion.
If, however, Adidas hopes to sell sneakers to normal people who cringe at the thought of terrible things happening to their friends, they may want to use another approach. Unless and until they do, I can promise you that my kid won’t be wearing Adidas.