“Race Wars” blunder by JB Hi-Fi in latest catalogue

Race Wars
Batten down the hatches.


Hmmm. As reported by News.com.au sites today, electronics and entertainment giant JB Hi-Fi apparently made a massive blunder with its latest catalogue.

It was advertising a new bundle that included an Xbox console and two games, Halo Wars 2 and Forza Horizon.

But JB Hi-Fi overshadowed the bargain bundle by giving it a very questionable name in its headline, to wit, “Race Wars”.

The advertisement was in catalogues that were released yesterday and according to Kotaku Australia, a number of staff members voiced their concern about the name of the package.

An internal memo sent to staff said: “We have been advised that some store staff who have seen the catalogue have interpreted the title in a more political context. Please note that it is intended purely as a reference from the Fast and the Furious franchise … please share with your teams to ensure they have the background if consumers come at this from a political angle,” the memo said.

Plenty of people have taken to Twitter to share their confusion about the Xbox bundle nickname.

Matt @opiatus commented: “Someone at JB Hifi thought “Race Wars” was a good name for a sale, and not a single person thought “wait, hold up a minute…”?”

MOP logoWhich is really the question, is it not? How on earth did no one, from the humblest graphic designer putting together the catalogue to the most senior executive pressing “Go” on it spot the obvious potential for embarrassment?

Microsoft quickly claimed it had nothing to do with the name and similar bundles being sold elsewhere are not named “Race Wars”.

After printing the catalogue, JB Hi-Fi decided to pull the pin on the controversial nickname and all traces of it have disappeared from online advertisements and shop windows and the catalogue has been pulled. Which must have cost a pretty penny, let alone factoring in the public humiliation.

Evidence, once again, if further evidence was needed, that a company’s marketing is only ever as strong as it’s weakest link, and that the weakest link needs to watched like a hawk.


News’s coverage states that JB Hi-Fi have been approached for comment. We suggest the retailer eschews comment and just heads to the hills, fast, fervently hoping the story rapidly becomes yesterday’s fish and chip wrapping.

Author: Stephen Yolland

Director of Creative Strategy and Partner @ Magnum Opus Partners.

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