Here’s a lesson for all aspiring public relations people: don’t wrap review codes in pretend bomb packages. While fancy press kits are not unusual in this industry, Ubisoft’s decision to send a beeping parcel to one Australian journalist backfired hard earlier this week, when the offices of Ninemsn were evacuated – and the local bomb squad was contacted in order to investigate.
The strange packet – which actually included a copy of Watch Dogs – was bundled with a message telling the recipient to check their voice mails. Unfortunately, the reporter never received correspondence from the publisher, but had coincidentally had to deal with a crank call from a mysterious number the night before. To make matters worse, the bundle started to beep when tampered with.
Naturally, the company decided to call the police, and eventually evacuated the building. Four police cars and a police rescue unit arrived to scout out the situation, later discovering that a mere video game was the culprit for all of the commotion. The biggest irony is that the publication doesn’t even actually cover the gaming industry, making this a mess that could have been avoided.
“There was a bunch of reasons that this ended up looking weird,” publisher Hal Crawford said in a statement. “The PR company no doubt got carried away with their creativity, and ended up sending us something that the bomb squad had to open up.” A fellow journalist wrote on Twitter that she watched the whole “dumb stunt” unfold, and mentioned that there were a few tears.
Unsurprisingly, the French publisher has apologised for the sorry affair. “We unreservedly apologise to Ninemsn's staff for the mistake, and for any problems caused as a result,” a spokesperson said. “We will take additional precautions in the future to ensure that this kind of situation doesn't happen again.” Secretly, though, we reckon that the company will be quite satisfied with all of the press.