Press in Flames

10 09 2008

A quick update on EA’s marketing stunt from Monday:

Photos of the petrol station are on Flickr, and Games Radar has a couple of pictures of the resulting queue.

MP Lynne Featherstone has waded in and demanded an apology. One again from the BBC:

“Whilst a lucky few might have got free petrol, hundreds of residents have faced misery”.

The Liberal Democrat said: “Trying to recreate Venezuelan-style fuel riots on the streets of London is completely irresponsible and downright dangerous.

“Hundreds of local residents have faced misery on their daily journeys this morning.

“They deserve an apology for being the victims of such an ill thought-out media stunt.”

Ill thought-out is hardly the term, more inconsiderate. Even in that respect though, the whole stunt is well thought out. Localised negative effects, in EA’s eyes, are probably a very small price to pay for the amount of coverage they’ve got for this. Google is teeming with news results, some of which have video. All of them have something like “The stunt was by Electronic Arts, to promote the Mercenaries 2: World in Flames game.”

It’s hardly surprising that it got shut down early due to traffic disruption, not to mention the British Government’s crackdown on firearms over the past decade or more making it very risky to tote an imitation gun in public. Nonetheless, using a commodity to hack a common motive and attach a brand is clever even if it did annoy lots of people. Opportunities to do something that effective are rare, or at least rarely used.

(CC image by Evan Hamilton)



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