GDC 11: THQ PR Stunt Sends Balloons into SF Skies, Then Directly into Bay

The idea was to emulate the launching of balloons by people in South Korea with the hopes that they would bring messages of hope to North Korea — that’s what THQ was going for when it held a mock anti-occupation rally in order to promote the upcoming Homefront at Game Developers Conference 2011 in San Francisco this week.

At the end of the rally, THQ launched a whole bunch of red balloons into the air to symbolize protest against the game’s fictional North Korean occupation of the United States. but instead of messages, the balloons carried preorder offers from GameStop. The balloons stayed in the air for a bit and some fell in the city, but a whole lot of them fell straight into the San Francisco Bay, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

San Francisco is already dealing with a polution problem in the Bay, and as anybody who would have thought about the stunt for more than three seconds might have anticipated, the city’s denizens were not happy. I wonder if that was what that bum was referring to when he was holding up the “GameStop, Clean Up Your Trash” sign I saw yesterday. THQ maintains all the materials are 100-percent biodegradeable, but SF citizens are still annoyed with the air-drop of garbage on their city and into the water that surrounds it on three sides. Again, items that should have set off red warning lights in the heads of THQ marketing employees.

Meanwhile, GameStop maintains it had no involvement with THQ’s stunt, or even any knowledge of it. And while THQ wasn’t actually polluting the San Francisco Bay, as many eager-to-complain citizens seemed to believe, it was really, really dumb to go piss off an entire city in the middle of a big industry conference.

Stern finger wag, THQ. Use your heads.

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