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5 Not So Well Thought Out PR Stunts

5 Not So Well Thought Out PR Stunts


Marketing games to the jaded public is a hard job. You might not even know how hard, because you’re the jaded public and you wouldn’t understand. To break through the haze of apathy game publishers need to use shock and awe tactics from time to time, but that can upset people. What sort of people? Well, MPs, police and religious organisations perhaps.

Case in point came this weekend when a Splinter Cell: Conviction stunt in a bar in Auckland, New Zealand ended with armed police arresting a promotions worker who had brandished a fake gun at patrons. That didn’t work out too well, but then neither did the rest of these.


Mercenaries 2: Petrol Giveaway – Set in Venezuela, Mercenaries 2 revolved around the capture, storage and use of fuel as you attempted to bring down the government. So, what better way to promote this point that to give away petrol and fuel station in North London? Well, perhaps some better ways as after word got around about the offer huge queues started to form and a serious traffic situation was alleged to have developed. Apparently it was about 40 motorists waiting to fill up for free, which doesn’t sound all that bad, but it caused a big fuss on the news and the local MP got involved. We have to mark that down as a fail.


Dante’s Inferno: Hell Is Not A Game – At last year’s E3 Dante’s Inferno was getting a fair amount of attention, but when a religious group turned up outside the LA Convention Centre protesting against the game, people were a little surprised. With signs that read ‘InferNO!’, ‘Hell Is Not A Game’ and ‘EA = Electronic Anti-Christ’, the rhetoric seemed pretty overblown. How did these people even hear about Dante’s Inferno? Well, it was eventually revealed that it was all a stunt set up be EA to promote the game, but that didn’t please genuine religious groups. They considered the stunt ‘anti-christian’. Oh dear.


God Of War II: Goat Slaughter – This got blown up beyond all proportions by some national newspapers, but the fact of the matter is that having a dead goat as the centerpiece of a videogame promotion probably wasn’t the smartest move. Sony denied the details of some reports, such as guests being invited to eat the offal directly from the goat’s stomach, but that didn’t cool the reaction. Sony also didn’t waste too much time in apologising for the event which it admitted was inappropriate. “On this occasion we recognize that we fell short of our normal high standards of conduct,” a statement release afterwards said.


Burnout 2: Speeding Tickets Paid For – While still being published by Acclaim the release of this Burnout titles was going to be promoted with an offer to pay off speeding ticket fines for UK drivers on one particular day of the year. Suffice to say the government wasn’t best pleased by this idea seeing it as an encouragement to speed and break the law. After the negative press it drew the plan was cancelled.

And the best PR campaign EVAR!!!

Black Cat-vertising see attached story

F.E.A.R. 2: Cats Wearing Coats – On Friday 13 February, 2009, Warner Bros released black cats in London wearing coats with the F.E.A.R. 2 logo on them. Warner even called it Cat-vertising. That kind of PR doesn’t grow on trees. That takes some serious genius.

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