Outrageous Animated TikTok Ad Shows Pregnant Woman Getting Pushed Off Balcony
A series of bizarre-at-best, offensive-at-worst animated ads for a solitaire phone game are making the rounds on TikTok — and boy, oh boy, do we have questions.
The ads are for a game called Solitaire Home Design, which was created by a company called Betta Games.
Based on the game's app store description, Solitaire Home Design is about two protagonists named Lori and Eddie who take on the daunting challenge of renovating an island. Players are supposedly tasked to help design the place by playing rounds of solitaire (yes, the card game) to move the story along.
It's billed as lighthearted, colorful fun and mentally stimulating, but the game's incredibly weird, even morbid ads on TikTok tell a much darker story.
Content warning below // pregnancy loss, physical abuse
In one particularly mind-boggling ad, two Pixar-esque cartoon women get into an argument while on a balcony. One of them is pregnant, and she is violently pushed to the ground where her water breaks in a clear reference to pregnancy loss.
A second scene shows the woman who was pushed off the balcony moving into an abandoned, derelict home in the middle of a snowstorm. Playing rounds of the card game are supposed to help fix up the house by earning supplies and items such as roofing. Spoiler alert: The character seemingly freezes to death before that can happen.
All of this goes down while irreverent elevator music plays in the background.
The accompanying caption encourages viewers to "Experience the fun of solitaire!" It also advertises that the game has been downloaded 300 million times.
Nothing about the ad looks like fun, though; it's traumatizing, violent and misogynistic. Watch below, if you can stomach it:
A second ad from the same game company is just as horrifying, but has a slightly happier ending.
In it, a woman finds an abandoned baby in a dumpster and decides to save the crying child. She takes the baby into yet another abandoned home. Again, they're in the midst of a snowstorm. (Wasn't the game supposed to take place on an island? Also, where's Eddie?)
Rounds of solitaire help replace broken windows, exterminate spiders and start a fire. Sure, the fire is unconfined and placed atop wood flooring, which doesn't seem very safe to us, but the woman ends the ad in a celebratory fashion.
An accompanying caption boasts about "super popular solitaire."
Watch it all go down below:
TikTok users took to the comments section on both ads to call them out as absurd and problematic.
"These creators hate their game so much they make advertisements like this," one user wrote. "They are opposed to showing real gameplay."
This was not the only comment that pointed out the ads don't paint an accurate depiction of gameplay, but the ad depicting violence toward the pregnant character was deemed particularly offensive.
Commenters referred to it as "so wrong," "dark," "messed up" and "disgusting."
"This is pretty f---ed up fr," another wrote.
"Wtf is wrong with your team," someone else demanded to know. "Miscarriage is never something to joke or use as advertisement!"
Another user questioned why TikTok is so quick to remove other questionable videos but will allow something so offensive to remain on the interface.
The answer to that question may simply be that the ads are lucrative for TikTok.
According to Influencer Marketing Hub, ads on TikTok average around $10 per 1,000 views. Advertisers need to invest at least $500 to begin a campaign, and it only goes up from there.
Since in-feed advertising is newer on the FYP (a.k.a. for you page), it's been speculated that TikTok is able to charge more than Facebook or Instagram.
Long story short, Betta Games is likely spending a lot of money to advertise Solitaire Home Design on the app.
However, it's not remotely clear why they are using such macabre and downright weird imagery to show off a virtual card game that is supposed to be about decorating an island. It seems inaccurate and hugely misleading — maybe that's the goal to lure outraged or confused people in?
We also can't help but question: Who exactly is the company's targeted audience?
The bright, bubbly animation style nods to Disney or Pixar (on a reduced budget; this is not Encanto), which would appeal to younger players. However, the ad content is decidedly adult. It's fair to argue that the content is even dark and inappropriate for mature viewers.
Betta Games is not the only company utilizing similarly offensive advertising campaigns, either.
TikTok user @cabexmedia compiles animated videos and ads on their account. They also appear to advertise the ability to promote ads to their 359,000 followers.
One compilation of ads seemingly for a game called Project Makeover, which appears to be owned by Magic Tavern, Inc., depicts several misogynistic storylines, including domestic abuse.
Watch the compilation below:
Many videos featured on @cabexmedia's account also feature sexual and violent content.
This ad style is popping up on TikTok now, but it's visible on other forms of social media, too.
In 2021, The Guardian reported on an influx of "strange, horny game ads" taking over various apps.
The goal of the ads, and early gameplay once a game is downloaded, appears to be to draw players in. Then their wallets are hit as many games require in-game purchases to get the full experience.
It's surprising how sexual some of the ads are, but it appears that there are some limits. XDA notes that a game was removed from Google's app store last year after it was promoted with a sexually explicit in-app ad.
The Google Play app store also has rules against using sexual imagery to direct users to download an app.
However, that just raises more questions on how some of these ads, including Betta Games' misleading ads for Solitaire Home Design, are getting approved to run on apps such as TikTok in the first place.