Pretty much anything Acclaim has ever done
Acclaim Entertainment was a fairly successful game company in the late 90’s with popular franchises such as Turok, Burnout and Dave Mirra BMX. Naturally, such a successful company has to colossally screw it up. Not only did many of Acclaim’s marketing stunts cost the company financially, the company’s reputation took a hit. So rarely had one company managed to offend so many people with their marketing blunders.
On of the worst offenses was during the release of their newest iteration of “Turok”, a popular first person shooter. The good ol’ marketing team decided to create a marketing stunt to raise some awareness for the already popular game by throwing a sweet contest. The rule was simple, promise to name your expected child ‘Turok’, and you get to walk away with a cool $10 000 (and a lifetime worth of shame and regret). Just to prove that they could get more idiotic, they decided to promote their newest ‘Burnout’ game by offering to pay for every speeding ticket issued in England on the day of the game’s release. Fortunately, people with common sense caught wind of the stunt and abruptly canceled it.
Finally, after getting tired of offending newborn babies, Acclaim decided to also cheese off dead people. Yep, to promote their newest game, ‘Shadowman 2’, they looked to advertise on tombstones. Not just fake tombstones planted out in the public, but real, actual tombstones. Like ones that mark the final resting place of a human being (this naturally, is a great place to reach out to video gamers). This idea offended some people, and was promptly shut down and played off as an April Fools joke. And by ‘some people’ we mean ‘everyone’.
Cause some random property damage, get a free game!
THQ’s 2009 game, ‘Red Faction Guerrilla’ is a game that let’s every gamer live out his or her ultimate fantasy: being given the opportunity to break and blow up everything in sight. That’s why so many people love video games; it gives them a chance to escape to a world where normal rules don’t apply. Somehow, the marketing team thought it would be a good idea to take the game’s imaginary destruction and turn it loose in the real world.
A car was placed on the side of a busy London street, with 100 copies of the new game left inside. Conveniently propped up against the car was a sparkly, new sledgehammer. The idea was that passersby would naturally decide that they could casually break the window of the car and grab a copy. They would fully assume that they’d be committing a full on crime, completely unaware that this was a publicity stunt.
The further the idea is dissected, the more the logic breaks down. If the person does break open the car, how are you sure that they’ll grab just one copy? If the person is the type to randomly smash car windows in broad daylight, it’s not difficult to assume that they might be the type to sell the other 99 copies for cold profit. And then that’d be the end of the miserable little publicity stunt- only one dude witnessed it.
As a whole, a stunt like that doesn’t really do favors to the video game community- a group that is trying to prove that it isn’t a group of window-breaking juvenile delinquents. Sooner or later, various social groups will be pinning car window violence to video games.
- Nothing like promoting a video game like decapitating some goats: http://www.slashgear.com/gallery/data_files/1/4/6/GodOfWarIILaunchParty.jpg
- Sega Saturn jumps the gun (and the shark): http://images.businessweek.com/ss/06/10/game_consoles/image/slide9.jpg
- Pretty much anything Acclaim has ever done: http://www.interment.net/column/uploaded_images/stained-glass-tombstone-704138.jpg
- Cause some random property damage, get a free game!: http://www.benwphoto.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/032209_car_show_bjw.jpg