Watch Dogs PR stunt goes wrong, bomb squad called in
Ubisoft apologizes for poor execution of marketing stunt that led to multiple officers responding to an office building in Australia.
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Some of Ubisoft's marketing efforts for open-world action game Watch Dogs have been entirely excellent, but now comes an example where things probably could have gone better. Mumbrella reports that a bomb squad was called to the Sydney, Australia offices of major Australian online publication ninemsn after the company received promotional material for Watch Dogs inside of a beeping safe.
Ninemsn has now separately confirmed the story, saying a reporter was sent a black safe and a blacked-out note asking them to "check their voicemail." This reporter apparently does not use voicemail when they went to open the safe, it began to beep. The editorial staff reached out to other news publications to see if they were also sent a similar package, and when none said they had, ninemsn called the police to inform them of the matter.
The entire floor to which the beeping package was delivered was evacuated and four police cars and a "police rescue unit" were dispatched to the scene. Officers scanned the safe and them "forced" it open in the basement of the building. What they found was a copy of Watch Dogs, which was strange because ninemsn does not cover video games.
"The PR company no doubt got carried away with their creativity and ended up sending us something the bomb squad had to open up," ninemsn editor Hal Crawford said.
A representative for Ubisoft in Australia told Polygon that the voicemails and packages were part of a promotional effort to hype the recent release of Watch Dogs.
"Our team in Australia sent voicemail messages to some local media alerting them that they'd receive a special package related to the game," Ubisoft said in a statement. "Unfortunately, the delivery to ninemsn didn't go as planned, and we unreservedly apologize 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."
Watch Dogs launched May 27 across Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PC. The Wii U version will be released sometime later. For more on Watch Dogs, check out GameSpot's review and what other critics are saying.