When it comes to modern marketing ploys, it seems like anything goes. People still wonder if James Franco's chasing of a 17-year-old girl was in reality part of some sneaky marketing strategy for his movie Palo Alto; on the less creepy side of things, the Carrie marketing team made some real-life New Yorkers truly believe in witchcraft for a hot second when they staged a public "supernatural" meltdown. It can be cool, and it can be weird, and it can be downright inadvisable. The bomb scare caused by Watch Dogs seems to be firmly in the latter two camps.
Watch Dogs is a video game that's been selling like gangbusters, but the teams behind it's probably got a bit of a headache after what just went down with one of the packages they sent out to press recently. According to Entertainment Weekly on Wednesday the Australian publication Ninemsn received "a black safe with a blacked-out note asking the recipient to 'check their voicemail.'" The voicemail was inaccesible — the people behind Watch Dogs say they sent voicemails out to all the publications they sent the package to alerting them of its arrival and origin, but the Ninemsn drop didn't go as planned.
So when the staff opened the safe it "started beeping" — never a good sign. As EW reports:
Calls were placed to other newsrooms to see if they had received similar packages; they hadn’t, and the cops were called.
The floor where the package was sent was evacuated and the staff sent home. A police rescue unit scanned the safe, took it to the basement, and forced it open, revealing a copy of Watch Dogs inside.
Oof. Yeah, someone's definitely having a bad day at the headquarters of Watch Dogs producer Ubisoft today. Marketing packages can be one of the best perks in the biz, and can create some priceless office moments — The Mary Sue outlines some great ones from the peeps behind Paranorman and Doc Johnson's Avengers -themed sex toys (yes, that last one's NSFW). The HBO team routinely sends out truly awesome things like engraved boxes with your own house on them — something we still covet:
Alas, if HBO had sent out something realistically mimicking the Red Wedding, it probably would have freaked someone out. So, for future marketing teams, beware: Make sure people know you're not trying to blow them up.
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