THQ In Hot Water Over Homefront Marketing

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THQ In Hot Water Over Homefront Marketing

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Spoiler alert: polluting the San Francisco Bay with a bunch of balloons is an easy way to get in trouble with both citizens and the law.

Remember that slightly-bizarre rally that THQ held yesterday to promote Homefront? Well, it turns out that residents of San Francisco are less-than-thrilled with it because of how the hundreds of balloons that were released wound up floating in the San Francisco Bay.

Folks apparently took to Twitter and Facebook to yell at GameStop, since the company's name appeared on the balloons. GameStop, in turn, claimed that it knew nothing about the balloon release until THQ let them fly. As GamePolitics points out, this logic is straight up bizarre: "we knew yesterday that THQ planned on doing this, so how GameStop didn't have any prior knowledge is pretty baffling."

According to GameStop:

"We understand the concerns consumers have regarding the impact balloons can have on the environment. However, the balloon drop stunt in San Francisco was created by THQ, the publisher of Homefront, and GameStop had no prior knowledge of it. THQ has since informed us that they released soy-based, biodegradable balloons."

THQ also explained that the balloons are totally biodegradable and start breaking apart as soon as they're filled with helium. Of course, that isn't enough for some residents of the Bay Area, like Anne Bauer of The Marine Mammal Center.

"It's still trash," Bauer said. "It's biodegradable over time, but a bird can still get entangled in it right now. A sea lion could be curious about it, bite it and swallow it. It could clog their stomach and cause them to die--right now. Biodegradable takes time to happen."

Also, it turns out that the release might have been illegal, since part of the California Fish and Game code 5652 explicitly forbids littering balloons into the state's waters. Perhaps THQ should ask Extra Credits for some marketing advice ...

Source: C|Net via GamePolitics

Image from C|Net

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Some people just have no sense.

If youre going to spam ballons everywhere, do it where no one will give a shit about the ballons or whats on them. At least you wont be in trouble.

Well at least it seems they got some attention, though not exactly what they were looking for.

Also, how did GameStop not know about the balloon stunt if THQ would have had to ask them if they could put their name on the balloons in the first place?

gigastar:
Some people just have no sense.

If youre going to spam ballons everywhere, do it where no one will give a shit about the ballons or whats on them. At least you wont be in trouble.

Yeah like... SOUTHWEST KANSAS. Please I would like just one of the many games I like to be promoted near me!

vansau:
since part of the California Fish and Game code 5652 explicitly forbids littering ballons into the stat'e waters.

Erm, what? First one I know is a mistake, but the second one confuses me.

Anyway, that's just silly. I also find it hilarious that the people who made a game about defending "AMERICA!" are in hot water with its citizens

image

I guess THQ was going for the "It is better to seek forgivness, than to ask permission" approch.

Freaking hippies. Always something to complain about.

Oh lord, here we go again...

*reads article*

Oh, THQ, you had it coming. Stupid, stupid idea.

THQ and EA should team up to make a super villain team of marketers, THQ can be the sidekick

Man, why can't publishers advertise games like NORMAL people?

I don't even get. What are the balloons supposed to signify exactly?

Totally didn't see this coming /sarcasm

am I the only one that thought of:

it wont leave your mind!

but really, this was pretty stupid THQ, I dont have any fancy college degree's, but even I know that balloons will eventually come back down.

it just might take a while.

I bet the geniuses who came up with this stunt still get to keep their jobs too.

I've never had an encounter with a marketer or their "work" that raised my opinion of them. They just seem to me to be some of the most undeserving people who ever got paid for anything.

If the balloons are biodegradable there shouldn't even be an issue. They didn't intend for them to end up in the bay they intended for them to end up in gamers hands. It was reported elsewhere they had game coupons inside the balloons. They just miscalculated things like the wind and weather. All I see is an honest mistake and environmental whackos looking for something to complain about.

Still not as offensive as EA's Dante's Inferno stunt, but very idiotic on your part THQ

Hasn't releasing balloons been a crime since the 90's? They even made jokes about it on Beavis and Butthead back in the day... "Happy Birthday Flipper".

Frozen Donkey Wheel2:
Man, why can't publishers advertise games like NORMAL people?

I don't even get. What are the balloons supposed to signify exactly?

We're talking about it aren't we? The thing is that whatever idiot had this idea didn't remember people talking about it because they look like assholes doesn't increase sales.

This game better be great.

cjbos81:
This game better be great.

agreed with all the Shit they are doing to promote it it better be good

secretsofgames:
If the balloons are biodegradable there shouldn't even be an issue. They didn't intend for them to end up in the bay they intended for them to end up in gamers hands. It was reported elsewhere they had game coupons inside the balloons. They just miscalculated things like the wind and weather. All I see is an honest mistake and environmental whackos looking for something to complain about.

I will agree with all of that, but at the same time, why not try that stunt in a heavily populated area farther away from the sea. You know, if the coupons part is true anyway. Because right now for anyone to get the coupons they have to at the least rent a kayak. On the other hand, why not in a state that doesn't have a law banning the releasing of balloons? On the other other hand, why not use an air cannon and tiny parachutes? or have those coupons strapped to those plastic army dudes with the parachutes? On a realizing-my-age-and-how-the-world-has-changed note, do they still make those?

I'm wondering what company will make the next marketing blunder.

Well, it seems to me that San Francisco was probably not the best place to do the marketing for a war game, that by it's nature espouses a world view contrary to the political idealogy famously practiced in that region and celebrated in song. :)

The complaint on the balloons is ridiculous of course, and seems to be an after-the-fact attempt to do something about this more than anything, because I very much doubt this is the first promotional event/celebration in the city to do something like this, what's more the laws involved are likely pretty obscure if the marketing department working with THQ didn't know about them. Typically events like this are done by working with locals who help obtain the venues and promote locally, so it's not likely that THQ just decided to wing this whole thing and upset a bunch of people by being careless.

Simply put they walked into one of the biggest left wing strongholds on the left coast, and decided to promote a "realistic" war game involving real factions. It shouldn't be shocking that given the number of San Fran residents who might literally want to put flowers in the hair of Kim Jong and his son, that something went wrong here. :)

manythings:
Hasn't releasing balloons been a crime since the 90's? They even made jokes about it on Beavis and Butthead back in the day... "Happy Birthday Flipper".

Frozen Donkey Wheel2:
Man, why can't publishers advertise games like NORMAL people?

I don't even get. What are the balloons supposed to signify exactly?

We're talking about it aren't we? The thing is that whatever idiot had this idea didn't remember people talking about it because they look like assholes doesn't increase sales.

Yes, it does. The only bad publicity is no publicity.

cjbos81:
This game better be great.

It's not about being 'great'. Pumping all this time and money into marketing is the opus magnum of every corporation since time immemorial. At the end of the day, it's about whether or not somebody bought your product. Not whether or not the thing is good or bad after the fact.

I think these kinds of stunts are trendsetting and i think we're going to see a lot more of them in the future. I also think the worst that's going to happen to publishers / producers who do this sort of thing is a slap on the wrist and some more free publicity. As i said above, there's no such thing as bad press. A little sad really, all this focus on marketing that could go to research and development to improve the product. Oh well, c'est la vie.

I'm just going to throw it out there, if a sea lion sees the balloon and thinks "That looks rather tasty, I think I'll have a bite on that" either a) it won't die or b) it kinda had it coming.

This seems like an honest mistake to me. Its not like THQ intended to fill the bay with balloons. They are filled with hellium and it slowly leeches out through the rubber causing it to sink lower and lower, wind currents eventually pull them over the water where they land. Releasing balloons as part of a promotional event goes back decades.

If THQ were as stupid as EA's marketing department, they would have detonated an actual EMP device over the city.

I'm from the city and I don't give a shit. You can't even imagine some of the stuff I've seen floating in the Bay lately...

Qufang:
I'm just going to throw it out there, if a sea lion sees the balloon and thinks "That looks rather tasty, I think I'll have a bite on that" either a) it won't die or b) it kinda had it coming.

QFT

If a bird finds a way to get entangled in a balloon and die, I just view that as natural selection.

Therumancer:
Well, it seems to me that San Francisco was probably not the best place to do the marketing for a war game, that by it's nature espouses a world view contrary to the political idealogy famously practiced in that region and celebrated in song. :)

The complaint on the balloons is ridiculous of course, and seems to be an after-the-fact attempt to do something about this more than anything, because I very much doubt this is the first promotional event/celebration in the city to do something like this, what's more the laws involved are likely pretty obscure if the marketing department working with THQ didn't know about them. Typically events like this are done by working with locals who help obtain the venues and promote locally, so it's not likely that THQ just decided to wing this whole thing and upset a bunch of people by being careless.

Simply put they walked into one of the biggest left wing strongholds on the left coast, and decided to promote a "realistic" war game involving real factions. It shouldn't be shocking that given the number of San Fran residents who might literally want to put flowers in the hair of Kim Jong and his son, that something went wrong here. :)

Just in case you're not being entirely facetious, you should be aware that the Summer of Love ended more than 40 years ago and San Francisco is no longer the communist hot-bed it was once thought to be. In fact, an influx of well-educated techie-types and regentrification have now placed it beyond the means of most Little Red Book-carrying Maoists. They all moved out and up to Humbolt County many years ago (where they're all now growing super-potent pot and making money hand over fist). The "hippies" you may see in Haight-Ashbury aren't really hippies. They're all actors paid by the local merchants to ensure a steady stream of gawking tourist willing to buy bootleg Grateful Dead T-shirts. Just so you know.

don't people release balloons like this all the goddamn time? why all the hullabaloo over it now?

guys I have a question since I honestly don't follow gaming culture that much. are gaming companies so dead broke they can't afford TV commercials and Internet advertisements like industries who market things like adults. I think things like this are the reason why were looked at as children.

ps the first gaming company that blames piracy for them not spending money on marketing is getting their corporate headquarters hijacked by the alien overlord Xenu under the intergalactic code of stupid.

JDKJ:

Therumancer:
Well, it seems to me that San Francisco was probably not the best place to do the marketing for a war game, that by it's nature espouses a world view contrary to the political idealogy famously practiced in that region and celebrated in song. :)

The complaint on the balloons is ridiculous of course, and seems to be an after-the-fact attempt to do something about this more than anything, because I very much doubt this is the first promotional event/celebration in the city to do something like this, what's more the laws involved are likely pretty obscure if the marketing department working with THQ didn't know about them. Typically events like this are done by working with locals who help obtain the venues and promote locally, so it's not likely that THQ just decided to wing this whole thing and upset a bunch of people by being careless.

Simply put they walked into one of the biggest left wing strongholds on the left coast, and decided to promote a "realistic" war game involving real factions. It shouldn't be shocking that given the number of San Fran residents who might literally want to put flowers in the hair of Kim Jong and his son, that something went wrong here. :)

Just in case you're not being entirely facetious, you should be aware that the Summer of Love ended more than 40 years ago and San Francisco is no longer the communist hot-bed it was once thought to be. In fact, an influx of well-educated techie-types and regentrification have now placed it beyond the means of most Little Red Book-carrying Maoists. They all moved out and up to Humbolt County many years ago (where they're all now growing super-potent pot and making money hand over fist). The "hippies" you may see in Haight-Ashbury aren't really hippies. They're all actors paid by the local merchants to ensure a steady stream of gawking tourist willing to buy bootleg Grateful Dead T-shirts. Just so you know.

While I was trying to be funny with the flowers and mentioning the song, I will say that I didn't actually say "communist" or even "hippies" I said left wing. The left wing has changed in how it presents itself. "The Left Coast" is referred to that way for a reason, the point here being that it's not an ideal area for this kind of thing. Most of the big cities down there aren't.... HOWEVER there are exceptions to every generality when dealing with populations that big. San Fran doubtlessly has some very conservative areas like any big city.

joebear15:
guys I have a question since I honestly don't follow gaming culture that much. are gaming companies so dead broke they can't afford TV commercials and Internet advertisements like industries who market things like adults. I think things like this are the reason why were looked at as children.

ps the first gaming company that blames piracy for them not spending money on marketing is getting their corporate headquarters hijacked by the alien overlord Xenu under the intergalactic code of stupid.

As a fellow non-follower of gaming culture, I can understand your question completely. However, I have the great misfortune to run across the Dead Space 2 advertisement enough (online videos or TV) to know that, sadly, no, they still do commercials... they just suck. The Bulletstorm one has been on a few times and I think that video game marketing would sometimes be better off just showing cool explosions for 15 seconds and shutting the hell up.

This marketing ploy looks like more empty fuel to the already spluttering fictional fire burning off of the fear-oil hidden under North-South Korea Super Nation of Great Victory. Balloon launch, really? Who's going to be impressed by a half-hearted humanitarian awareness/video game plug just because helium is involved?

[1]

[1] Dear ReCaptcha: Two words does not equate to reading books, especially when at least one or even both words are either misspelled, illegible, or written in the language of "Crazy."

Eri:
Freaking hippies. Always something to complain about.

Who cares about the animals? What if a small child drifting lazily by consumes a balloon? Won't somebody please think of the children?

OT: Moral of the story is that you should always check the laws of a state about balloons, you never know what sort of shit you can get into. You should also never trust Gamestop, lying bastards, of course they knew about it all.

It sounds like an honest mistake. One that will cost the lives of a few endangered squid-eating animals, but an honest mistake none the less.

This isn't like the two guys who thought it would be a great promotional idea to dress one up as a robber and break into their own work building to advertise a phone (least I think it was a phone), or that one commercial pandering an M rated game to kids by saying their mothers would hate it.

OldGus:

secretsofgames:
If the balloons are biodegradable there shouldn't even be an issue. They didn't intend for them to end up in the bay they intended for them to end up in gamers hands. It was reported elsewhere they had game coupons inside the balloons. They just miscalculated things like the wind and weather. All I see is an honest mistake and environmental whackos looking for something to complain about.

I will agree with all of that, but at the same time, why not try that stunt in a heavily populated area farther away from the sea. You know, if the coupons part is true anyway. Because right now for anyone to get the coupons they have to at the least rent a kayak. On the other hand, why not in a state that doesn't have a law banning the releasing of balloons? On the other other hand, why not use an air cannon and tiny parachutes? or have those coupons strapped to those plastic army dudes with the parachutes? On a realizing-my-age-and-how-the-world-has-changed note, do they still make those?

That 'coupons strapped to parachute army-men' idea is brilliant. I remember those. They were awesome. I'm sure they still exist out there.

sad that some moron in PR got paid to come up with this stunt. why do companies think they have to go outside of traditional marketing, especially with a game that is already at the front news on most gaming websites?

secretsofgames:
If the balloons are biodegradable there shouldn't even be an issue. They didn't intend for them to end up in the bay they intended for them to end up in gamers hands. It was reported elsewhere they had game coupons inside the balloons. They just miscalculated things like the wind and weather. All I see is an honest mistake and environmental whackos looking for something to complain about.

Agree with this!

Hippies gonna hate.

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