Diablo IV's ad is suddenly very poignant as New York suffers

 Diablo IV New York smog billboard; a game ad
Diablo IV New York smog billboard; a game ad

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 the games console.), but it had already provoked one controversy (see the Xbox logo controversy).

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.

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?