Posted on May 28, 2014, Ron Whitaker Watch Dogs PR Stunt Ends With Bomb Squad Callout
It’s not unusual for video games PR to send out promotional materials for video games, but a Watch Dogs PR campaign in Australia ended with the bomb squad being called out yesterday.
On Tuesday, a small black safe was delivered to the offices of Ninemsn in Sydney, Australia. It was accompanied by a letter with most of the content blacked out, leaving only the words, “Check your voicemail.” The reporter who the safe was addressed to had not received a voice mail, and when they attempted to open the safe using the PIN number that was attached to the safe, the safe began beeping.
Fearing that it might be an explosive device, police were called. The company sent its staff home, and the bomb squad removed the safe to the basement, where it was opened.
What was inside? A copy of Watch Dogs, a baseball cap, a beanie, and en embargo notice.
It was a bit or a strange thing for the Ninemsn staff, since they don’t cover video games. Editor Hal Crawford said,
“This is definitely the other side of the line in terms of what it’s safe for a PR company to send anonymously to a newsroom. The thing was black, heavy and slightly creepy. We did check with other newsrooms to see if they had received a similar package as we thought it was a PR stunt, but no-one else had. We weren’t panicked at any point, but given there was no note explaining what it was, we had to take sensible precautions.”
There have been some odd PR initiatives over the years (anyone remember the giant Saints Row 3 dildos that got sent out?), but this might be the first one I ever heard of involving a bomb squad.