EA’s ‘Go to Hell’ Tag Could Be Cast Out of Super Bowl

For the last nine months, Electronic Arts has been promoting the upcoming videogame release Dante’s Inferno, based on Dante’s first book of The Divine Comedy, with a campaign from Wieden + Kennedy telling gamers to “Go to hell.” On the Super Bowl, an EA spot will instead inform viewers that “Hell awaits.”

The company, which is making its Super Bowl debut, had to soften the tagline in order to get clearance from CBS. The network determined the “Go to hell” tag was too controversial for the broadcast. “It was deemed too provocative,” said Paulo Ribeiro, account director at Wieden, Portland, Ore. “The final verdict has yet to be rendered, but it is unlikely that we will get [it on the game.]”

Dante’s Inferno, developed by Visceral Games, is due to hit stores two days after the Feb. 7 Super Bowl. “The timing couldn’t be better,” said Phil Marineau, senior product manager at EA.

Consumer research showed that people have heard of Dante’s Inferno, but don’t understand what the 13th-century epic poem is about. Thus, client and agency determined that the advertising needed to focus on the setting of the game. The action-adventure title casts each player as an armor-clad Dante, braving the nine circles of hell to save the soul of his murdered love.

“The subject matter sets us apart,” said Ribeiro. “A lot of what you’ll see on the spot is a stunning epic rending of hell.”
As part of the push, EA orchestrated a fake religious protest outside E3 Expo last year and, in November launched a “Go to hell” Facebook app that allows users to send people to one of the nine circles of hell.

EA is also releasing a special edition of The Divine Comedy, in partnership with Random House and Del Rey Books, that features the game’s Dante character on the cover and a 16-page color art insert showcasing the creative development of the videogame.

A full-length animated feature and a collectible action figure of the game’s Dante hero will also be available for purchase.