The ad in question promotes Microsoft's newly released Xbox One console. Where Microsoft went wrong is by playing on the gender stereotype that females hate the whole video game culture, presenting women as an obstacle for men to overcome in order to bring home an Xbox One. Of course, Microsoft is glad to help -- "We got your back," the ad states -- with a tongue-in-cheek letter template that gaming deprived husbands and boyfriends can give to their oppressive significant others.
A version of the letter starts off by saying, "You'd rather knit than watch me slay zombies, but hear me out on this. Xbox One is actually for both of us. Seriously."
Seriously indeed. If women would just put down the knitting needle long enough to be educated on what the Xbox One offers, men would be better off, right? *Cringe* In this day and age of social media, the criticism came fast and furious via the Twittersphere. Men, women, and even game developers whose livelihood partially depends on the Xbox One voiced their displeasure in the ad campaign.
Microsoft, do you even know who your Xbox customers are? Do your research, this is not the 60s.@Microsoft— Nina Radivo (@NincheRadivo) November 28, 2013
Dear @Xbox : I game. My (soon-to-be) husband doesn't. We both (try to) knit. Your strict gender role beliefs are bad marketing. Grow up.— Sylvia Nowak (@SylviaNowak) November 27, 2013
Microsoft has since apologized for the ad campaign.
"The letter is fully customizable and we meant no offense, but understand how the defaults could be perceived. We're making changes to the letter defaults and apologize for the oversight," Microsoft said in a statement.