Watch Dogs PR Stunt Results in Huge Bomb Scare and Evacuations in Sydney
Genuine mistake or cynical marketing ploy?
Either Ubisoft’s marketing team managed to misjudge everything about their Australian marketing stunt, or they knew exactly what they were doing. Either way, the game has hit the news because of a black, beeping safe that caused a huge bomb scare in the heart of Sydney.
Picture the scene: you’re a journalist, and you receive a black safe with a note telling you to check your voicemail. But you don’t have voicemail, and when the police try to open the safe, it beeps. No other journalists you know have received a similar box.
This is what happened to a reporter at ninemsn in Sydney, Australia. The police eventually took it down to the basement following a complete evactuation of the building and found it contained a copy of Watch Dogs – Ubisoft’s popular new multi-platform video game, two promotional hats a note informing the reporter the story was embargoed and couldn't be reported until 5pm.
Ubisoft Games released an e-mailed statement which said: "As part of a themed promotion for Watch Dogs, our team in Australia sent voice mail messages to some local media alerting them that they’d receive a special package related to the game. Unfortunately, the delivery to NineMSN didn’t go as planned, and we unreservedly apologise to NineMSN’s staff for the mistake and for any problems caused as a result. We will take additional precautions in the future to ensure this kind of situation doesn’t happen again."
So, failed PR stunt or calculated attention grabber? It’s pretty obvious that sending any type of beeping box to a busy office building in a city of commerce post 9/11 is going to cause a litany of issues. It’s difficult to escape the feeling that the coverage Ubisoft got from the bomb scare is bigger than any journalist could muster up. Sorry, ninemsn journalist.