Diablo IV's ad is suddenly on brand as New York suffers

Diablo IV New York Smog billboard; a game ad
(Image credit: Nick Newman / Earth Cam)

New York is currently shrouded in a cloud of yellow smog, it looks hellish. Not to miss a trick, the quick-minded marketing team behind hit game Diablo IV put out a cheeky ad just for the Big Apple's sweltering denizens. Or was it just a devilish coincidence?

The message "Welcome to Hell, New York" is beamed across the city in a moment of brazen marketing. Diablo IV is the latest game in this successful role-playing series and sets players up to battle the demons of hell, so it first appears to be a great piece of marketing. Released in PS5 this week it has been incredibly well reviewed. (Read my PS5 review to find out more about this games console.)

A photo of the billboard has been snapped by Twitter user Nick Newman and the rest of platform's users were quick to react. "This could not be better advertizing with the haze," wrote @AiAlderman, while another, @pikkienaaktman, wrote simply "perfect timing". While at first it appears to be a sassy merging of events a Tweet from Activision Blizzard's EVP corporate affairs and CCO, Lulu Cheng Meservey, suggests the whole thing was just an accident.

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The current environmental crisis in New York has been brought about by "dangerously high levels of wildfire smoke," reports the New York Times, sweeping down from Canada. It's turned the famous New York skyline into an orange haze that has restricted vision to meters as the city's iconic buildings, including
Times Square, Rockefeller Center, the Empire State Building, are cloaked under smoke. 

I love that there's still a place for traditional billboard advertising, and how that it can throw-up some unique and fun accidents, like Diablo IV's marriage of message and environment. These kind of advertising has very creative recently, for example I loved the recent jokey billboard ads by Surreal cereal.

While it looks like the launch of Diablo IV and its Hell-themed New York campaign was a case of unfortunate timing, it does exactly what good billboard ads should do – make you stop and look. The best billboard ads are created to make you stop, stare and share, take a look at KFC's Ikea billboard and that innovative sun-powered Dracula poster for more examples. In the meantime, I guess some New Yorkers can hide away and play Diablo IV, or maybe this is time to wear that ill-fated Dyson Zone?

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Ian Dean
Editor, Art & Design

Ian Dean is Editor, Art & Design at Creativebloq, and the former editor of many leading magazines. These titles included ImagineFX, 3D World and leading video game title Official PlayStation Magazine. In his early career he wrote for music and film magazines including Uncut and SFX. Ian launched Xbox magazine X360 and edited PlayStation World. For Creative Bloq, Ian combines his experiences to bring the latest news on AI, digital art and video game art and tech, and more to Creative Bloq, and in his spare time he doodles in Procreate, ArtRage, and Rebelle while finding time to play Xbox and PS5. He's also a keen Cricut user and laser cutter fan, and is currently crafting on Glowforge and xTools M1.