EB's "Man's Guide To Trading" Criticised For Sexism

A promotional EB Games video that aims to explain the retailer's trade-in process has come under attack for using gender stereotypes and making negative generalisations about women.

The animated video, which EB Games' Twitter account has defended as being a light-hearted joke, shows a husband being nagged by his wife after he expresses interest in going into EB. Inside the store, an EB store clerk suggests that he trade-in games in exchange for the games he wants to buy, which saves him money that he then spends on dinner with his wife. The closing scene shows his wife doing housework and rewarding him with gaming time because he paid for dinner.

A number of tweets from men and women have called out EB for perpetuating a negative stereotype and making women feel uncomfortable.

Staff and opinion writer at Save Game Online and Level 3, Elizabeth DeLoria, raised the issue with EB Games over Twitter today.

"It's hard to just point at one thing in the video and call it offensive, because so much of it is, from [the man] tuning out his wife's concerns as 'nagging' to basically buying her over with dinner," DeLoria told Kotaku.

"As if that wasn't bad enough, the husband buying her nice things is considered him 'doing so much.' It's full of some really harmful negative stereotypes which, considering how many issues female gamers face at the moment in the gaming community, is the last thing the gaming community needs."

DeLoria also found EB Games' responses to her criticisms over Twitter unsatisfactory.

"As for it being a light-hearted joke, it almost seems as though EB is so out of touch with their own customers that they fail to realise that it offensively stereotypes not only women but gamers in general. I feel that EB's defence of the ad after such an outcry was possibly more offensive than the ad itself."

An EB Games spokesperson said that the company prides itself on being a diverse and equal opportunity organisation and that no offence was intended.

"EB Games' intention was to show an exaggerated dramatisation of comical trade stories and did not intend to offend viewers," the spokesperson said.

"In light of today’s feedback we will be giving our customers the opportunity to tell us their trade stories which will form the content for future trade videos moving forward."

The official EB Twitter account says that the ad was written by a woman and that there is a woman's guide to trading on its way."

[Thanks Ben!]




      How did this even get past marketing?

        To add more general meaning to my posts:

        Whether or not the ad is a "light hearted joke" or not, there are bigger issues that are of concern here.

        There's a lot of criticism in the media at the moment and in the community in general regarding "sexism" in gaming.

        Look at the (often awesome) commentary on the various posts this week on the site to see a wide range of opinions of what the actual problem is, how to fix it, and how big an issue it is/isn't.

        The fact is, it's very easy to paint the games industry as "immature" or simply for boys looking at sexualised girls.

        While that argument is playing out, the *very last thing* we need is for a major games retailer to show those very aspects which attract criticism as part of a marketing push.

        As mentioned above, there's a lot wrong with the way both the guy and girl are depicted here. I'm a gamer; I'm male; I don't want to be depicted as only taking out my partner and spending money on them provided I can "sneak" a game under their nose and then - and only then - use that money on something other than games.

        That's bullshit.

        Also, as if you'd go to EB.

          Yeah, I wouldnt say its manly to walk into an EB to trade games... Perhaps "man what?"...

        This is looking more and more like a contrived PR/Marketing stunt to generate controversy and people's hate.

        The Twitter response of "So, we're not funny. Send us your own and we'll make it an ad!" smacks of the Vegemite 2.0 debacle.

        AKA: Grow public resentment, get them engaged with your brand, get them dong your work for you.

        There appears to be some disparity between what people consider "inappropriate" concerning retail advertisement. Take the recent GAME adverts as an example versus this new EB Games ad. Is it just that most people on here loathe EB that they're more willing to get up in arms about their choice of marketing? I deem both adverts offensive in their own rights.

    Oh noes, a light hearted look at a situation that has actually happened countless times in real life.

      i agree, more proof that we are turning in yanks. to get upset at this when its clearing being light hearted i mean for fucks sakes listen to music) is just mind boggling. Hell the fucking discovery channel use to run a whole lot of ads in that exact style.


      If you think for a minute that my wife doesn't a) groan at me going to 'EB' (or equivalent), and b) 'reward me with game time' (i.e. give me a bit of space) when I've earnt it, then think agian.

      Same for many many many husbands out there.

      PS sterotypes are often sterotypes for a reason....


        Relax, it was a crappy joke in a crappy ad that nobody would have seen if kotaku didn't post it. As said above, "more proof that we are turning in(to) yanks".

      Anyone else notice that people cry "sexist" only when its directed at women?
      what about those directed at men? you don't see us screaming when that happens.
      Remember the Carling beer ad where the wife makes the husband clean the entire house with his tongue? see here

      some people did complain about it...but not about it being sexist...it was about it being "obscene" and unsuitable for family viewing.

      and guess what? Going into technicalities of 'sexism" the Old Spice ads are sexist against men too.

      you know women used to be oppressed and they fought their way to equality. good on them. but do you get the feeling that we have passed the tipping point and men are now on the losing end?

      cmon, we find all the sexist jokes against men funny, why can't women do the same?

        Its sexist to men too. As if we are so shit at communicating with women that we tune out when they speak, or that we're happy to deceive them about why we have extra cash. Or that we'd be happy sitting on our asses while they clean up after us.

        Congratulations EB. You have engaged in equal opportunity sexism.

          At what point is giving a cupboard/buffet/whatever a light dusting "cleaning up after us"?

          And hell, you've never in your life zoned out when a person (regardless of gender) is nagging you?

          Hell I'm glad that we women have the old spice guy, bout time we had some sexism going the other way!
          And hey, if my man wants to go to EB and doesn't take me along, I would get pretty shitty, some of us girls like games too!

          "cmon, we find all the sexist jokes against men funny, why can’t women do the same?"

          Because up until about 40-50 years ago, women were only seen as baby-makers and property of men? Because they spent hundreds of years being victimized by men? And turning it into a punchline is offensive?

      My thoughts exactly. Then again, I'm not female..

    It's a bloody outrage it is!

    How dare a company make a bad ad using lazy writing that resorts to stereotypes!

    Also, that man was clearly a criminal, the $100 note he used was obviously fake. Check the lack of see through panel doohickey.

      I agree that it is a horrible portrayal of stereotypes, some that no doubt exist but horrible none the less. I do not however think it is sexist. Just horrible.

    I'm sorry but to jump on this and complain is kinda sad.

    Kinda wish there was a script, currently at work.

      From memory, it went something like:


      FEMALE: "Why do you spend all your time on games..."

      Camera zooms into man's face and woman's voice turns into the teacher's 'wah-wah' sound from Charlie Brown.

      Man goes into store, is about to drop $100 on a game, storekeeper suggests he trade in his games, instead. He does so (trades in three games for one, hilariously) and saves $100 [LOL]. Is later seen at dinner with the woman, saying: "I had some spare money so I thought I'd treat you." Woman looks pleased.

      Flash forward to man playing games, the woman is dusting the house or something. He says: "Can I help?" and she says: "No, you've done so much already!" and he kind of grins and keeps playing.

        Doesn't really sound sexist, sounds like a guy is getting treated better because he did something nice.

          It's interesting because my gf doesn't get mad at how much MONEY I spend on games, she gets annoyed that I spend so much more time with the xbox than I do with her. The nice thing the guy did in the ad wasn't to buy her dinner, but to actually spend some time with her. That's why she didn't mind him gaming later in the ad, because he'd proven that he actually gave a damn about her. Trading in his games had pretty much nothing to do with that.

    Seriously, what a weak excuse to get pissy. There's plenty of mainstream adverts on TV where the woman is exploiting the (stereotypical) stupidity of her husband.

    Who gives a fuck, really.

      Yeah there is a lot of negative portrayals of men in advertisements aimed at women. Generally men are portrayed as bumbling idiots especially in the kitchen and around the home, and it's up to the woman to save the day.

      There are two reasons why it's "not a problem":

      A) Because men generally really don't care about this sort of stuff, and seem to have the common sense to realise that fiction =/= reality. And even if they did find it offensive, they would only bring it up when women complain the second an ad negatively portrays them to illustrate that it's everywhere about everyone.

      B) There's a bit of a "so what?" attitude when men bring up sexism towards them. Many angry minorities tend to think "we've had our run of superiority" and that if we take a few "hits" as a gender once and a while it's really a non-issue, and the subtext in their words says "we deserve it".

      But you don't have to take rights away from one group to afford them to another, everyone can win.

      Yeah it's a terrible ad. But it's hardly anything new. And anyone with a shred of awareness can see it was written in jest.

    no my reaction when I got to trade in at a EB store is

    You are only giving WHAT!

    I went to EB yesterday to pick up my Uncharted 3, and was served by a really nice girl behind the counter. Happy, friendly, all the stuff you want from people working at counters. Surely EB wouldn't be OK with saying that she wasn't a gamer just because she's a girl, would they?

      I have noticed a general increase in the number of females working in EB. Is it sexist to say that the majority of retail workers are female?

        Yes and no. I've noticed the trend for years. More women at EB counters who don't know jack about what they are selling.

          Makes up for the men at EB counters who don't know jack (or should that be jill) about what they're selling.

        No. Facts cannot be sexist. Assumptions, even when based on these facts, can and are.

        Saying the majority of people working in retail are female is not sexist. Saying that women are better at retail, because more women than men work in the sector, is sexist.

    You can actually trade-in old games for new games!?!?!

    LOL. They really put their foot in it, didn't they?

    Saddest excuse to whinge about 'sexism' EVER.

    There is literally nothing that offence can be taken at? If anything, it's a negative portrayal of a man, rather than a woman.

    Sometimes, I want to slap people upside the head when they go insanely Politically-Correct.

      Dude, she's holding a feather duster like bloody Betty Draper!

      (Weren't we supposed to have lunch today?)

        Oh crap, I was meant to, eh?
        We'll have to rain-check lunch for next week some time.

        As to the Betty Draper comment, can't you really say that the guy seems like more of a dick than the girl?
        Honestly, I take offence at the video! Do they think ALL MALE GAMERS act his way?! PROPOSTEROUS!

      You could always just point out the "clueless boyfriend" character that pops up in every tampon commercial ever. Maybe not as satisfying as a slap upside the head but could lead to some potential hilarity if they try to justify why that is okay and this isn't.

      In my eyes, they're both equally dumb and equally inoffensive.

        I don't know, I really liked the tampon ad where the guy was using his girlfriends tampons to dress himself up like a super hero.

      Yeah! Tad is right. It's kind of pointless and a sad excuse to get worked up.

    This just seems to depend on lazy cliches, not 'harmful' stereotypes. Really, men tuning out their wives is harmful? I thought that was just part of marriage or relationships.

    If he slapped his girlfriend/wife around because she interrupted his game play then I would be complaining. This I just rolled my eyes at. It didn't encourage me to go trade any games.

    There are TOO many soap boxes in the world for anyone to jump on and scream the 'sexism' catch cry - LIGHTEN UP!!! Soon we'll be censoring our farts as they ARE really offensive...

      I often save my most offense of farts for when I'm leaving EB, leave them a floating present in the doorway.

      Yes, it's not a smart ad, or anywhere near a good one but it is EB and they're dickheads, trust me I used to work there. Don't let it go to heart.

      What's with gaming blogs all these manufactured controverisies over really trivial instances lately.

      Like, sure sexism is a Big Deal, but this instance is so trite it undermines genuine cases.

      Its no worse than yet another Feminine Hygiene Product ad feat. The Dumb But Good Looking Boyfriend. Which tbh is insulting to both genders.

        I agree completely. Pad/tampon ads are generally insulting to both genders. I did like the super hero ad, because that guy wasn't stupid he was just bored and incredibly inventive!

        I don't find this offensive, I just think it goes out of it's way to try and tell us we'll save money by trading which is incredibly pointless. Any gamer (male or female) knows that trading in is a waste of money, especially at EBGames. =/

    oh I would like to point out that EB admits that there games are SO expensive that you can afford to take someone out for a nice dinner.

    Also when did EB lower there prices to 100??????, should he say 110 dollars.

      Good point. Our games are ridiculously priced compared to overseas.

      Those are actual prices?

      I knew there was a reason I loved Steam.

    Watched. It totally WAS sexist. Terrible ad.

    Who the heck came up with this idea for an ad?

    Plus, if you go to any other store, Batman is $70 instead of 100.

      Now, now, there was no mention that he wasn't expecting change

      Although at EB you'd probably be mad to expect it...

    I'm sorry but you just gave a lot of unwarranted publicity/attention to an advertisement that is quite frankly.....


    (Forget the perceived sexism, only an idiot would think he'd still have $100 after trading in at EB)

    EB was already a joke charging $100 - $120 for new release console games and this just tops it off. They should probably stop pretending to be our friends and tick off already.

    Can I just remind everyone to be constructive in their criticism? We've had to remove a few comments that have been downright abusive -- come on people, we're better than this.

      But muuuuuum...

    *sigh* Really? REALLY? I'm not a fan of EB as much as the next person, but this is ridiculious.

    I don't know why EB bother trying to do youtube videos. While GAMETV may not have been good in the beginning. but there latest stuff PLUS the unboxing videos are AMAZING

    http://www.youtube.com/gameaus if you want to see it.

    it's offensive to both women and men- the stereotypes are ridiculous.
    Not to mention just being a shit ad.

    And the idea of trading three games for a new one at EB...well........HAHAHA

    I don't think it's sexist (both genders are terribly stereotyped and insulted here), I just think it's terrible. The voice acting is just talking, the animation is ick, and the script feels like a generic cancelled 80's or 90's sitcom.

    Also, I'd like to say that I giggled at mchaza's comment.

      It's worth noting that there's a "Woman's Guide to Trading" planned, which does, I think, alleviate some of the sexism (the notion that all gamer's are male is a little offensive). I also have to congratulate the fact that it doesn't have that creepy rabbit.

        i hate to think what EB's idea of a 'woman's guide' is.... is that where she steals her boyfriend's games and trades them for nintendogs and a wii fit?

        Making a "mens guide" or a "womens guide" to anything that isn't tied to their biology is be definition sexist.

      It's worth noting that there's a "Woman's Guide to Trading" planned, which does, I think, alleviate some of the sexism (the notion that all gamer's are male is a little offensive). I also have to congratulate the fact that it doesn't have that creepy rabbit.

      Also, EB's Twitter notes that a woman wrote the ad, which I think again goes against the sexism claims. I'm going to hold off on calling it sexist until after the sister video.

        Mate, going to have to call you on that.

        The fact that a woman writes, directs, or publishes an advertisement that discriminates, stereotypes, or engaged in sexism against women does not mean it does not discriminate, stereotype, or engage in sexism towards women.

        Who wrote isn't important, is either sexists, etc, or not on it's own merits.

          Sorry, the last bit cut off, didn't know it'd read my tags.

          Who wrote *whatever media* isn't important. *Whatever media* is sexist, offensive, etc, on it's own merits and independently of who was involved with it.

          I completely understand that, but it certainly makes the intent of sexism a whole lot less likely.

            Ignorance is no excuse for that. Just because a woman is being sexist against her own gender. Remember both aspects of the video are over generalised stereotypes, no matter what was intended, the video has been viewed by people as sexist and EB Games are not willing to stand down against it. I think that part of the hype will work in their favour but at the same time it is just a pretty poor representation of the company *especially the quality of the ad, content, dialogue, writing visuals and undertones of sexism* I wouldn’t be trying to sell this puppy.

              I don't think ignorance is the best description, I think it's just someone writing a terrible script which is meant to be like 90's Simpsons or Married with Children and they put in stereotypes like all shows used to.

              But you're completely write about bad quality, dialogue and writing.

    I understand EB Games trying to appeal to what they perceive as their marketing base and trying to be a bit silly/funny in that swing but the fact is the ad is clichéd and sort of in poor taste in both sense. It is denigrating to women and men as well, as people have said we don't all get nagged by our partners for playing games or need to bribe our girlfriends to play games, stereotypes offend, for the most part.

    It just seems a step in the wrong direction; it shows how out of touch the marketing team behind this campaign are in not only the community as a whole but their target market.

    Oh come on.

    There is nothing wrong with this video, besides being crappy.

    So she is cleaning? So what? We're meant to ignore the fact a woman cleans (in real life), but if we mention it in a conversation or show it in a video it's counted as being sexist?

    Please, Elizabeth getting worked up over it is just stupid as well.

      'a woman cleans in real life'?............jesus christ, dude. i don't even know where to start with what's wrong with that

        Men clean in real life too Lulu... I really don't think he meant that cleaning is exclusive to women.

        The assumption that "a woman cleans" translates to "only women clean" is what's wrong with that.

        Cleaning is an activity that women do, it's also an activity that men do. To show a woman cleaning does not mean anything other than a woman is being shown on screen, doing some cleaning.

        I see a green frog, my immediate thought should not be "all green things are frogs" but "that's a green thing that is a frog".

        Well, don't they?
        He didn't say it's their role in life, or that it's a passtime exclusive to the female gender. He said that such a phenomenon occurs in real life.

        I think he's pointing out that women have from time to time been known to pick up a duster and clean things, not that it's a woman's job in life to clean or anything sexist...

        Trijn, etc - just to jump in, I think it'd be an awesome idea to split the two statements in Seth's post - I think everyone is at cross purposes.

        I agree that you should be able to show whoever the hell you like cleaning or doing *stereotypical activity A* without having to fear that them doing it is stereotyping. There's a big distinction there.

        The secondary point would be: "Please, Elizabeth getting worked up over it is just stupid as well." - simply because I think there's been a misunderstanding along the line and everyone's just going to snowball that (through no fault of their own).

        Seth - I don't think the issue people are raising is so much to do with a woman being shown cleaning. It's more than the general representation of the woman in the ad buys into a whole lot of stereotypes, and implies women are a certain stereotypical way, etc etc.

        That's the part that some people are finding, and getting annoyed at. It's not just showing a girl with a brush.

        Some people can read the thing as saying "Hey, guys, you'll get this right. Aren't all women just nagging you about games, you tune out, they sound like honks etc cos you don't listen. But if you buy them dinner they'll be sweet on you and let you play games lol they're easy to fool and buy off".

        Its this generalisation (which it seems is not terribly common) that people seem to be objecting to.

        Two different points, I'd say.

          I'd say it's actually pretty common. Not so much the buying dinner part but the being nagged about spending money on games? Happened to me with my ex, several people here have stated it happens with them and their wives. Lady I work with often mentions how her husband just went out and bought ANOTHER game for his playstation...

          It's something that happens in real life, it's something that happens enough for it to become a stereotype, it's something that happens that is so ridiculously inoffensive that calling it out for being "sexist" is a waste of time and detracts from ACTUAL sexism issues that people should focus on.

            Yup. I like seeing a clean fight, free of tangents. More interesting and meaningful that way.

          With the secondary point, people are simply reading into something that isn't there. Considering how lazy this commercial is, to think that anyone put any thought into communicating a message beyond "save money by trading in games" is really just a bit silly.

          Also, the honks are a reference to the Peanuts cartoons. The teacher made those exact same noises.

            Indeed! They totally got some points for using the honks.

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