Animal Crossing isn’t particularly known for being scary. In fact, the scariest thing about New Horizons is the fact that official support for the game ceased after a little less than two years.
Yet that hasn’t stopped content studio Sawhorse from utilising the general aesthetic of the franchise for a rather spooky anti-smoking commission for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Uploaded onto its official website and subsequently archived on YouTube (thanks, Nintendo Wire), the ad campaign is a visual representation of the anxiety that can arise from nicotine cravings. It showcases a cute, Animal Crossing-inspired character hopping into bed before a fiery smoke monster rises up from the floor.
It’s definitely effective at what it sets out to portray, yet the choice to use the visual style from Animal Crossing is certainly surprising. It’s highly unlikely, however, that despite Nintendo’s fierce protection of its IP, the company will not take any action against the ad given the lack of any specific identification or branding. Heck, the characters seen in Bandai Namco’s Ace Angler: Fishing Spirits are almost exact replicas of those found in Animal Crossing.