• PrintMag

Review: DiRTy Tats

Some design is meant to communicate, some design is meant to persuade, and then there is DiRTy Tats. I regret to report that the “a” should be replaced with an “i.”

For the new release of DiRT 2, an off-road racing video game that boasts an “extreme sports attitude,” fans are encouraged to express themselves artistically in a flash game called DiRTy Tats: “Fans can practice their tattoo artistry on a lovely lady looking to bring some extra attention to her ‘assets.’ Just select your tool, design, and colors and tattoo away!” The leather-clad lass (whose “assets” are then thrust front and center of the screen) purrs to the novice tattooist, “Just try something. I trust you!”

Shudder. I’m sure all the adolescent boys targeted by this campaign are writing their names all over the model’s heaving breasts and posting them on their Facebook pages. The DiRT 2 marketing team really thought hard about this one. My question to them is, what do tattoos have to do with desert rally racing? Do you think Colin McRae would let his kids play pretend-ink with bare cleavage? Why not have the web viewers design a paint job for one of the DiRT 2 cars, or design a desert racetrack? Damn—even Vince Offer could do a better viral marketing campaign! It’s bad on so many levels.

As a tattoo collector, I know tattoos aren’t just for truck drivers and drunken sailors—they’re everywhere. The reasons for getting tattooed haven’t changed, but the public perception has loosened up to accept them. That said, they shouldn’t be used to advertise anything but tattoo shops. I believe tattoos are meant to express a person’s individuality, not to get teenage boys to buy an Xbox game.

As a designer, I tend to look at things more closely than usual. I’m always asking myself, How could it be better? The site’s “grunged-out” design is exactly the kind I’d rather ignore. It’s a classic case of commercialism vs. integrity. I can almost hear the client asking for “hardcore music in the background,” “an in-your-face type,” “a sexy girl with an orgasmic voice,” “neon-electric colors.” The DiRTy Tats site does a disservice to the product it’s promoting. The months that the programmers spent on the game were pointless if this is how it’s being marketed. I guess commercialism wins. We should have more faith in the intelligence of our youth!

And get rid of royalty-free Flash templates!