GAME's UK head of PR has said that a Gamestation marketing campaign described as "openly sexist" by a female employee is part of the store's "edgy and occasionally controversial" image.
The staff member, who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of recrimination, contacted GamesIndustry.biz to say she was upset about a recent campaign selling pre-owned games at prices "cheaper than your girlfriend".
"I agree Gamestation should target a more core audience than GAME, but I just don't see what this slogan has to add to their campaign or to gaming in general," said the employee.
Any discrimination is banned by GAME's own employee regulations, so I don't see why the company itself should be able to get away with it
"It is pretty openly sexist - girls being cheap, obviously, but it's also pandering to the old stereotype that gamers are guys. And of course any discrimination is banned by GAME's own employee regulations, so I don't see why the company itself should be able to get away with it."
GamesIndustry.biz asked GAME's UK head of PR Neil Ashurst whether he felt the advert alienated female customers.
"We welcome everyone into our stores and the Gamestation brand reflects its customer base which is still predominantly the traditional core male gamer," he explained.
"Our marketing and in-store POS does, and will continue to, appeal to that audience. Throughout its existence, Gamestation has always been slightly edgy and occasionally controversial. Our customers love this about us.
"Whether they agree with everything we do is a different matter. We embrace people's right to disagree and you will see this in our stores every week as our customers and staff discuss, usually passionately, the finer points of the latest games."
When we put this to the Gamestation staffer, she said it was to be expected.
"I did think they would try and excuse it with the edgy aim of their marketing," she told us. "I think it's a bit of a cop-out though.
"I appreciate Gamestation's style - but I don't appreciate them making me feel I'm not who they think should be buying their products."