Jeffrey A. Haines' Blog
The Civony Girl Revealed
Who is the Civony girl?
You’ve seen her countless times the last few days if you’ve been browsing tech sites, and probably even more times today, since she seems to be feeding off the keyword “pirates” and the blowup over the Pirate Bay conviction.
I spotted her the for first time on a TechCrunch post in my RSS while I was reading on my lunch break. I think all heterosexual guys in that situation make a mental note to figure out who she is. I didn’t see the PG version to the right (click the image for the PG-13 eyeful).
Later, when I was catching up on tech news, I spotted her again. A quick Google search revealed that I was not alone in succumbing to the primal marketing. I agree with other bloggers that the Civony advertisements are the most risque I’ve seen on Google’s ad network.
I’ll get into the juicy details first to placate the majority of people who will find this post, and then I’ll break into a marketing rant for those that care about the real reason I am writing this.
First off, what is Civony?
Apparently, it’s a browser based city building strategy game. Kevin Sung has a full wrap-up with the lusty (apparently lust-less) details. The game is a Civilization clone (even uses the same font), whose creators obviously could not come up with a decent original fantasy name–”Let’s combine the words ‘Civilization’ and ‘Colony!!!’. This forum has a great post that explains how the game’s revenue plan isn’t exactly player friendly (and players aren’t happy about it!)
But back to the babe:
EDIT: A comment from Dom (see below) reveals the girl’s true identity:
The girl is just one of many costume models, in particular she is showing an “Adult Forest Fairy Costume” which can be found on a number of costume warehouse style sites, but I believe was primarily from here:
Be sure to read his comment for the full scoop! Here is the full resolution pic.
Not only is Civony being heavily criticized as a scam–apparently their marketers are taking the cheap way out and are stealing imagery from costume websites! I doubt they secured permission to use the image they have implemented in their ad. The true identity of the Civony girl: She’s just a model for a costume reseller, but at least you can purchase the costume for your girlfriend or wife!
Now for the marketing rant:
Even though I will admit I generally ignore advertisements when I am reading my RSS feeds, as a 23 year old heterosexual male, I can’t deny that I definitely paid attention and looked closer when I spotted the Civony advertisement.
As a marketer, and a conscious fiancee, I am troubled that I succumbed to such a cheap marketing trick.
I’d like to think that most marketers that aren’t in the Adult or male and female fasion, style, and beauty publishing and product fields try to avoid stooping to the level of using sex to sell, but I have to admit that it does probably provide greater return on investment than any other method of advertising–almost regardless of what your product or service is.
The girl is pretty, and I know that a lot of males would brim with excitement if an attractive woman addressed them as “my Lord.”
The sad, but inevitable thing about the advertisement is that it is working. I don’t have time for, or interest in, playing online games, but I clicked on the ad.
I am honestly shocked that the Civony ad was being displayed on a major ad network, and I feel that although it is not by most standards sexually explicit, I hold the opinion that it is not family friendly or safe for all audiences. Most of the mainstream advertising networks have policies that prohibit sexually suggestive advertisements, and I can’t really figure out how this ad was approved by the censors.
My thoughts and opinions about sex in advertising aren’t really collected right now, and I’m sure they are still developing, so I will digress from further analysis. I do have some questions, though:
- What is the future of sex in mainstream internet advertising (Google)? Will major networks have to relax content guidelines in order to maintain revenue?
- When and where is it professionally and socially acceptable to use sex in advertising, and what are the boundary lines?
- Why are the ad networks’ standards censors allowing advertising with sexual content to appear on their networks?
- Why are ads that contain obvious non-parody copyright infringement being approved?
Disclaimer: I only have eyes for the woman to whom I am engaged. The words that I have used to describe the woman in the Civony advertisement are used only for SEO, and because they are the general language which I believe web surfers would seek when looking for information about the attractive woman in the advertisements. I understand that many people probably believe she is being depicted in a demeaning way, and I want to note that I agree that the advertisement is unwholesome.
Well, to answer your opening question and probably the question every one of your traffic explosion numbers want, the Civony girl is a costume model the shifty purveyors of this scam of a website cut and pasted into their second ad.
The girl is just one of many costume models, in particular she is showing an “Adult Forest Fairy Costume” which can be found on a number of costume warehouse style sites, but I believe was primarily from here:
Incidentally, the linked site allows for a larger picture that is probably where they snagged it. A quick vertical flip of the pic and bam – they have an ad.
It’s a rather entertaining scam all around. A little bit of web coding, charge or everything and no art costs what-so-ever due to copy-pasting from online models and video game sprites.
My favorite part is the sign-up screen after you click the ad which has the blurb “A world you have never seen before, a story has never been told, a campaign you really should fight with, a homeland need you to protect ![sic]”
If that doesn’t tell you english isn’t their strong suit, I don’t know what does!
However, it *looks* like it’s all done in the US, despite the complete lack of grammar and seedy use of copyrighted materials. Who-is checks out to be a guy in Delaware and it’s hosted in Texas. *shrug*
Dom: Thanks for the awesome sleuthing. You’ve got mad internet skills! I’m sure readers would thank you–I tried to give you cred in the updated post.
The girl is attractive, but I think the picture is pretty tame compared to some of the anime pics I have seen advertizing for games.
I’l let you in on a secret, this company is based in China and has VERY good relations with one of the people in Google China. The game is copied from another successful game in China, as you can tell from the spelling and if you played it, the lack of gameplay and things making sence.
This is the ‘Chinese’ way of making money, no ethics no morals, just money.
Usually google has VERY strict advertising banner requirements, this ad would of got shelved fast if Google US approved it, but they used an insider from Google China.
Firstly, I’m ashamed to say I noticed the visuals plainly lifted from Age of Empires before I noticed the lady.
What is this game’s method of scamming? I hear you have to pay loads of real money to do anything in game?
Either way, I wouldn’t trust anyone that can’t be bothered to do their own work, and would shamelessly steal all their visuals from another game
I’m just baffled reading this blog and what your point is? It reads to me ‘whaa whaaa they posted a picture of a girl with cleavage but i love my fiance and wasn’t really attracted to this girl i just clicked the ad cuz…’
this is the tamest ad i’ve ever seen. its okay that you watch pornography, by the way– everybody does… even (gasp)… FEMALES! yes, that’s right. women are sexual beings as well, i know i know, stop the press, its a real shocker. but dude– were you just sitting in your living room in 1950 and were suddenly swept into a time warp and appeared in 2009 and are trying to make sense of the sexualization of women for the first time?
Yeah i remember the first time i entered the net too it was shocking! Too bad im jaded now and could really care less about rediculous details cause its just a game thats actually not bad.
Now dont forget to flame me a bit just because i just want a quick distraction and dont have the time to pick something apart because i have no life
I find your write up bordering on hypocrisy. Just because the model is allegedly (yes, I am married so I need to put a disclaimer like yours too. Instant noodle for dinner sucks) pretty/sexy does not mean it is any different from the mainstream ad. Ad models are supposed to be pretty/sexy. If we want to do perfectly honest marketing, we’d have to find the ugliest most repulsing ad model to use. Therefore if we sell any, we know it is the product and not the sex. Sounds ridiculous, didn’t I?
Ad is all about image. And image is all about looking good. And beauty and sexiness is good images. No doubt about it.
However I agree if the ad flashes a tit now that would be a different matter.
Wow, you have got to be kidding me! You actually posted a rant about this pic being sexually explicit? Are you serious? Did you have absolutely nothing better to do with your time than to come up with something as mundane as this? I am a youth leader at my church and me and my youth actually play this game together. I agree, it is not the most creative, unique or mindchallenging game. I agree the rate are ridiculous and we don’t pay-to-play. But to even suggest that the pic of the model in the Costume is unwholsome is unworthy. Shame on you for even coming up with such an absurd proclamation!
The worst aspect is the server lag/failure. If I had been duped into paying, I’d be pissed. But the woman, though undoubtedly attractive, wasn’t enough to pry open my wallet. I’m playing it for free, and it’s kind of interesting, but there’s no real objective as far as I can tell. Maybe there is an endgame similar to Travian, but there’s no hint of it on the boards. I’d never pay to play this game based on the quality and the theft of others’ work.
Well…I saw a different Civony add on YOUTUBE and then I saw another a few MINUTES LATER on fmylife.com both of which are obviously hugely popular in my age demographic.
If its google approved and fml approved, either its legit, or some devious bastard has done his research on how to target my audience. Considering how much the in game coin system sucks and how they are too cheap to even pay for their own images, it seems like the latter.
Thanks for warning me before I got too sucked into it.
I got pulled into the game from a widget on my IGoogle page, so I never saw the girl. Being female it would not have attracted my interest if I had. Regardless of that, I have to say that I was disappointed right off the bat. Having played BOTH CIV and Age of Empires extensively, I noticed right away the straight up ripoff from both games. THEN I noticed the ridiculous coin system in the game. Good thing I make it a general rule not to pay to play everything. I am very upset at the false advertising… free… up to a point is more like it. Eventually it will stop being fun and just get frustrating if you can’t do anything without paying. I will strongly urge others to skip the mish mash ripoff and go straight to either CIV or Age of Empires. You’ll have more fun. I am giving up on Civony entirely.
I’m afraid I have to disagree with most of these comments, the game dose not require you to buy anything, and everything in the game can be aquired without any pay in. I don’t see the fact that there was an atractive woman in an add to be offensive unless the assertion is that only ugly people should be models. I’m sorry, but this seems to be more of a wack job than a fair article.
Even though the game sucks and the graphics are complete rip offs (or used to be, they changed it all a few days ago), the game acctually is completely free to play.
The only thing bringing real money in to it will do is to speed it up, but there is no need to pay for anything.
Never the less I’d rather buy AOE for ten times the normal price than spend a buck in civony.
Is the image of the other girl in the ads stolen property as well?
Oh yeah…this game is a pure scam. Civony is run by UMGE, which is actually a part of WoWMine…the disreputable Gamer Gold farmer company who sells WoW (and other game) gold…and has a huge rate of not delivering the goods.
The Admin team refuses to address the growing game problems, yet they are very fast to delete threads that question their origins or intentions, so we know they are haunting the forum regularly.
To address the original blog I am very confused as to where sex was used in this marketing campaign, sexy maybe but not sex. The fact is sex appeal is by and large the most effective practice in advertising history and the idea that the internet should for some reason be off limits to this sort of practice is ridiculous. You can’t honestly compare the content of the Civony ad campaign to that of a herbal essence commercial can you?
I’ve personally been playing Civony (now Evony) and can confirm that one of the viwpoints was ripped of CIV I and the initial graphics were ripped of AOEII. That being said they did revamp the majority of the graphics and our actively looking for graphic designers. The game for the most part is free, i imagine about 90-95% of the 160,000 community have never ever contemplated purchasing game coins (which are overpriced and for the most unneccesary).
In addition the administrative staff has been making constant updates for the past two weeks or so based on user feedback. For the most part they have responded appropriately to the communities concern.
The only issue about Civony/Evony that is of any real merit pertains to copyright violations, that’s it.
Another problem with the game is that the protection period ends suddenly and brutaly. After 7 days anyone can attack you, so you and your level 3-4 city get raided for resources by level 10 cities you dont have a snowballs chance in hell against. Also, the add is completely false advertising, they say “your lady awaits you” etc, but there is no plot or roleplay, and definitly no wenches.
Dave (Player name Trob)
It’s true that the game is “free” to play; but this is not the same as saying without cost, ultimately. My month’s experience with it leads me to conclude that there are 2 major problems with it (and I don’t care about the advertising) from a player’s perspective. 1. There are counter-intuitive and illogical dynamics in the combat algorithms and advancement indicators. For example, you LOSE “honor” when your cities are attacked, even when you utterly defeat the attack; combined attacks of footmen and archers have the same attack effect in many cases whether you send either a “single” (as in 1, literally) footman or 1000, with a large number of archers. and 2, more serious, as you improve your technology and infrastructure, the TIME (literal time) needed for each incremental increase doubles… so it’s a geometric function in terms of time (which is the essential difficulty here) to improve, while other costs (for example, feeding troops) are linear. You may double or triple you food need for troops as you double/triple troops, but the ability to actually provide that extra food becomes geometrically more difficult meet. There is no way around this except to spend INORDINATE hours painstakingly upgrading at low levels where incremental improvements take minutes rather than hours, or by BUYING special “items” that speed development. One can defer this problem by “pillaging” the abundant abandoned and unfortified still-producing cities of players who departed the game, but this is ultimately unsatisfying and still requires huge amounts of time. And ultimately, it will not meet the demands of huge armies as you get truly powerful. The geometric aspect I refer to is bad enough, but in addition to this, getting to the current final level (10) on any number of things (e.g., individual buildings in a single city, level 10 technology) requires an item called “Michaelangelo’s Script.” You get “one” by default and may randomly be awarded one here or there by lottery, but you would need *dozens* of them to make the leap from intermediate to high ranking player… Meaning, real advancement means BUYING them in real dollars from the game masters… So, in a meaningful sense, the game is not free…. Not free may be irrelevant if the price is low, but in fact, we are talking hundreds of dollars ultimately… or hundreds of hours in playing time just to advance… or both… I could go on, but those are the main problems. All in all, I had much more fun with all versions of CIV than with Civony/Evony and am glad to have departed it.
thank you for your interesting and well thought out commentary. I would love to hear your thoughts on this http://www.evonygame.com/evonyh2t.html?google4&gclid=CMibhJ7n-ZoCFRFWagodlSareA hopefully the link still works when yo check it It’s their newest ad.
As you will see, a vast improvement in graphic quality — it actually looks like they made it themselves….
HOWEVER, with the added “benefit” of being even lustier and sensuous — the word titilating spring to mind. It’s obvious to any viewer that if it were not for the very strategically placed shadows, her dress is nothing if not falling off. Amusingly enough, from when they first started the queen-themed ads (with the hilarious exception of the butterick pattern fairly girl) each rendition of the queen has had her bustier, and less clothed, than the last. Wonder what will come in next!
A lot of good posts here. However lets leave the lady to rest a minute and talk about the gameplay.
In short it really sucks. The game is definately set up to favor the bully type player. If you are one of the first on the server and can get your strength up before anyone else, it is quite easy to destroy anyone else who gets placed anywhere near you as soon as they come out of protection.
The penility for the high school senior varsity football star player picking on the 3rd grader……none…it is condoned and encouraged and rewarded as the great way to play the game.
As for the cost to play the game, scam really dosen’t come close to describing it accurately. They require a minimum of a $30.00 deposit, they do not accept less than that. $30.00 will buy you 300 game coins that are used to buy in game items. Dosen’t take Einstein to calculate that is 10 cents real money per game coin. Then the game coin prices come up to a large sum of real money. One item for instance lists for 280 cents in game coins. Real money that is $28.00. That is just one example and not the worst one at that.
Add to this the time involved to complete some things. Research for instance, there are some that require over 200 real life hours to complete. One is 240 hours (10 real days) to complete that one level of research on that one skill.
These are just a few examples of what makes this game really not worth the effort. Yes I played the game to discover these facts. No I did NOT deposit any money with them nor would I suggest that anyone deposit anything in this game.
If you are looking for a game where you log on, set up a couple of things to do then check back several hours, or in some cases days later then you might enjoy this game. If on the other hand your looking for a game that keeps you constantly involved in something then I doubt you will find much enjoyment or satisfaction here.
The newest add is ridiculous. It’s obvious what they’re trying to do. In the newest add the girls dress is very very close to not even being on. There’s lots of cleavage and the words “Save me, my lord!” are a dead giveaway. What a scam, using sexual attraction to hoard in players.
And even on the sign up page there’s the girl, and it seems as if her dress is even lower! How pathetic.
I agree with what Matt said about this being “tame”. I today went to the pirate bay and was served naked women. A ton of torrent sites show naked women from supposedly my area (IP address) that want to hook up with me. I find no harm in cleavage even if it is the most amount allowed on TV. All their ads could be on tv.
Civony is only one of many games like this on the web. Check SciFi.com (Yes I know its Sysy.com now, too bad). You can play for free, yes You Don’t Have to Pay Any Money. However, generally folks who can afford to do pay and can whomp on those who don’t. Personally I don’t pay. Its a bit more of a challenge, but hey, too bad.
The game is still enjoyable.
What MUST they be spending on advertising? $250,000 a week? Doesn’t it seem reasonable that they could afford to pay someone to model for them rather than making off with a stock catalog pic?
I guess the marketing advice is sound: More breast = more profits, but dangit people… must you steal the breasts in question!?
Evony is not just a distributor of malware, it’s a malware program unto itself.
The attractive white girls in the Evony ads dress so immodestly, enticing men.
I don’t think anyone here is arguing the sexual angle, more over it’s stated numerous times in the article it’s working, and for that they hit the nail on the head. What is questionable however, is the placement of these advertisements. I’m as liberal as they get, and I firmly believe there should be no censorship on the internet, I believe there is a large market for sexual content, and it’s not degrading the world to offer it to those who want it.
However, to get to such places on the internet, you generally have to search them out, I had a difficult time showing my nephew an article on his favorite fighter in the UFC, seeing as every page has a pair of tits flashing on screen, saying save the queen now for free. Again, the same advertisement while my nephew was searching up video games. It’s purely explicit advertising in the hopes to catch those off guard and garner interest.
There’s no doubt it works, there’s no doubt there’s a market for it, but it’s shown in the incorrect places, and as a 21 year old hetero male, to make me say that shows how over the top the ads are, it’s not so much dirty, as its dirty, and on every single corner of the internet
That being said I still tried the game out at work , and not only is the game a horrible rip off of PC games from over 15 years ago, it’s filled with people asking where the tits are, what they’ve managed to do was build a flawed, and horrible game, and than filled it with horny teenage males. I say don’t bother making a fuss over it, they can’t stand to operate for much longer with an aggressive advertising campaign that quite frankly isn’t bringing in any customers that could pay even if they wanted to
To say this picture is in anyway sexually suggestive is to say that the costume website is using sex to sell their costumes. It’s the exact same picture. . . An NO it isn’t even remotely suggestive.
So you all decided to read this to see what the girl looks naked probably) like then, because you were dissapointed, decided to spam him?
The point is there are no female images in the actual game, I know i played it (for the girl i regret to say), and until recently i had no idea that these parts of the game were stolen (borrowed if you prefer).
oh sry i messed up the first part of my comment but you ‘tards can probably figure it out and good post
I can’t believe that this is actually legal. They should seriously get sued for this, by both the costume company and Google.
ps. Wow Dom, you have 1337 skills, how did u get that info? :P
It is a very long game, with an engaging story. It can be a bit frustrating, but the in-game hints are very helpful, and I’ve posted a short list of “translations” in the game area. ie. What they ask for and what they really mean. BigFishGames Fan.
Men pretty much “brim with excitement” just waking up in the morning. Doesn’t take much.
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