Friday, May 23, 2008

Penny Arcade Uses Flamebait From Critic As Promotional Material

The creators of the webcomic Penny Arcade used flamebait from one of their harshest critics, Denis Duckfat, in the promotions for their new game on Xbox Live. This unusual promotional strategy flies in the face of contemporary wisdom -- that one should push the gushing glowing quotes, not stuff like:

"Penny Arcade sucks and is unfunny..."

Personally, I think it's brilliant. And inspirational.

Just think of it:


"She Cries Like A Girl! Ha-Ha!"
--The Artist Formerly Known As Nelson Muntz

"I deserved that magazine article more than that untalented slag. How dare she. In fact, I am so nonplussed by that banal creature that I think I shall blog about her all the time just to emphasize how unimportant she is."
--Dick K. Philip

"Occasional Superheroine provides me with a platform with which to express my deeply repressed hatred of strong women by hiding it behind a bunch of manufactured outrage over bullshit. For that...I am strangely grateful. Thank you, Occasional Superheroine."
--Theodore "Teddy Bear" Parsley Jr.

"My growing resentment of her is slowly supplanting my previous backhanded compliments."
--Lancha Elsechester

"Nice girls don't use that word."


  1. David Lynch did something like this with his film Lost Highway. When Siskel & Ebert gave him two thumbs down, he turned it into an ad. You can see it here.

  2. Well, I've read Penny Arcade a few times and have never really cared that much for it. Not my thing.


    I do think it's cool they're doing this. I love the idea of repurposing your critics' words. There are so many "critiques" out there on the Internet that consist mostly of "That sucks!" or "It's overrated!" (I particularly hate that one because it's the most abused or incorrectly used) or another one I hate- "That's gay!"

    Non-communication at its most idiotic. And they tend to override reasonable opinions, both pro and con.

    So to take one- especially one as stupid as the quote they're using here- and to claim it for your own is hilarious. It's almost guerilla-like in that it no doubt really really really pisses off the "critic" quoted.

    And that's always fun!

    Yeah, way to go, Penny Arcade cats.

  3. dang! i was planning on doing this with my Minx book that everyone hates so far! i don't feel so original anymore, heh.

  4. I've always found that sometimes negative criticism can be helpful in promotion, especially if it's funny.

  5. I think it's a great idea! Turn something negative into a positive. Now if I could only do that when my wife criticises me... sniff, cry...


  6. Anonymous8:52 AM

    I hope this doesn't dissuade you, Ross. I'm totally excited you're going to turn my negativity into a good laugh!

    I was thinking I should hire myself out to write bad review blurbs for creators. I think there's a market for this.

  7. I remember seeing a blurb on an Ashley Wood book touting it from the "Eisner Award losers" this is great stuff. I have to keep this in mind when I do a project.

  8. Norman Mailer took quotes from all the negative reviews of THE DEER PARK and ran a full-page ad in the New York Times, IIRC. He had it framed in his Brooklyn apartment.

  9. John Scalzi started doing this on his blog about a month ago. Bottom of the second column under the title "The Critics Rave!"

    Err... Award winning science fiction author. Old Man's War. The Android's Dream. Gabe from Penny Arcade did the cover of the Subterranean Press run of Scalzi's Agent to the Stars, so it's possible they nicked the idea from him, as Scalzi encouraged others to do that when he started doing it. Course, Tycho and Gabe are demented enough to come up with it independently, so take that speculation for what it is worth.

  10. It's been done many, many times. A very old joke. Still funny, but not really noteworthy.

  11. The Fight Club production notes for the DVD are filled with the worst reviews, like the ones that say the movie should be canned and never screened for the public again. It's great.