Watch Dogs marketing goes awry after Australian bomb hoax

29 May 2014

PR stunt image via mUmBRELLA.

The marketing team behind the latest next-gen game Watch Dogs have come under fire for their attempt at marketing that ended up calling in a bomb threat to an Australian media company.

According to the Australian online news site mUmBRELLA, the PR stunt involved sending a suspicious-looking black box that emitted a bleeping sound every few seconds to the Ninemsn’s office to promote the newly-released game that places the player as the central character in a world where they can control nearly every facet of technology in a near-future Chicago.

However, what they failed to take into account is that when you send a mysterious bleeping package to any office, alarm bells start ringing.

To make matters worse, the package arrived with a suspicious letter that told the person it was addressed to, to “check their voicemail”, which the reporter for the news company did not have set up.

Other members of the office attempted to open the PIN-activated box but after it appeared to have no effect, they began to panic and called the Australian bomb disposal unit and evacuated the building.

Thankfully for everyone, all that was inside was a copy of the Ubisoft game and clothing merchandise, but Ninemsn’s editor Hal Crawford was understandably not too pleased about the whole affair: “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.”

Ubisoft haven’t responded as of yet to comments as to whether they orchestrated the PR stunt or whether it was perhaps a third-party company hired by them to undertake the potential bomb plot.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic