Watch Dogs Promotion Causes Bomb Squad To Examine Beeping Safe

Watch Dogs Promotion Causes Bomb Squad To Examine Beeping Safe

Ubisoft sent a beeping, black safe to the Sydney, Australia offices of a major online publication.

Ninemsn, a major Australian online publication, alerted authorities yesterday after receiving a beeping, black safe and a note. The reporters had no indication that this safe contained promotional material for Ubisoft's Watch Dogs.

The letter instructed the recipient to "check your voicemail," but the reporter had no voicemail. Reporters tried to open the safe with a pin code that was attached to the safe. When they were unsuccessful, the safe began to beep. Employees were sent home and a bomb squad was called in to investigate. Inside the safe they found a copy of Watch Dogs, a baseball cap, a beanie, and a note stating the game's embargo was for 5 p.m.

Ubisoft Australia had sent voicemails and packages as themed PR for Watch Dogs. "Our team in Australia sent voicemail messages to some local media alerting them that they'd receive a special package 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."

Ninemsn editor Hal Crawford said employees had first checked in with other newsrooms to see if they had received a similar package as they assumed the package was "a PR stunt." The reporters were never panicked but chose to take precautions because they had no idea what the safe held.

"This is definitely the other side of the line in terms of what is safe for a PR company to send anonymously to a newsroom," Crawford said. "The thing was black, heavy, and slightly creepy."

Source: Mumbrella via Polygon

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Are Australian media that much in danger of bomb attacks that they immediately suspected foul play?

Oh wait... ninemsn = 9 MSN = Microsoft... yup I can understand they'd expect angry people.

So Ubisoft is paying off press members with safes caring swag such as a copy of the game, beanies, and a baseball cap?

Is anyone else ignoring the whole "bomb scare" thing of this article and instead focusing on how this "PR stunt" is a possible attempt to influence reviews of their game? I cannot possibly be the only one who thinks this.

Why is it so hard for the developers to just send a single copy of their game and state "here's our game, please play it and tell us what you think"? They might not even have to go that far and instead no free copies sent out; basically allow reviewing companies to fork over a bit of their Ad revenue to purchase the games needed to be reviewed. Either way it's far better than the Ubisoft method that smells hell of a lot like stinking herring!

Deathfish15:
So Ubisoft is paying off press members with safes caring swag such as a copy of the game, beanies, and a baseball cap?

Is anyone else ignoring the whole "bomb scare" thing of this article and instead focusing on how this "PR stunt" is a possible attempt to influence reviews of their game? I cannot possibly be the only one who thinks this.

Why is it so hard for the developers to just send a single copy of their game and state "here's our game, please play it and tell us what you think"? They might not even have to go that far and instead no free copies sent out; basically allow reviewing companies to fork over a bit of their Ad revenue to purchase the games needed to be reviewed. Either way it's far better than the Ubisoft method that smells hell of a lot like stinking herring!

LOL. That's how I'd bribe Greg Tito to give DA2 a higher score: I'd give him a baseball cap and a beanie. What the hell man, hahahaha. It's a fun promotional stunt. Why is it a big deal? They sent Yahtzee Dante's Inferno in a wooden box that played Rick Astley until he bashed it in with a crowbar and then a note said that he gave into "wrath" or some shit. Did he make his video more favorable? Nope! It's fun and (except for situations like these) mostly harmless. It doesn't "bribe" reviewers if the game is still poop.

People, instead of being rational and understanding that a review is still heavily based in opinion, tend to create some weird conspiracy theory out of thin air just because it aligns better with their world-view. It's just not the case 99% of the time.

Short version: y u heff 2 be mad, is onli gaem.

OT:
That's pretty funny, but also terrifying without the context of the voice message. Maybe they should've sent them an e-mail or reached out with a more, uh, reliable method of communication. Granted, the incident is probably isolated, so hind-sight 20/20 and all that.

EDIT:
All references made of the aforementioned review of a certain fantasy RPG which may or may not be the second in its series and its respective reviewer are made in good faith and are meant as a jest. Please do not fire me out of an aircraft carrier gun capable of delivering me into near-orbit at high velocities. Thank you.

I can't blame them. If I was sent a beeping electronic device, I'd be freaked out too.

Deathfish15:
They might not even have to go that far and instead no free copies sent out; basically allow reviewing companies to fork over a bit of their Ad revenue to purchase the games needed to be reviewed.

The reason that they do that is so the reviews can all come out on the day the game is released. If reviewers had to buy the games themselves then weeks could go by before the review goes up. There's also the fact that a game is assumed to be bad if review copies aren't sent, as why wouldn't you want people to review your game if it's good?

kailus13:
The reason that they do that is so the reviews can all come out on the day the game is released. If reviewers had to buy the games themselves then weeks could go by before the review goes up.

And that's bad for publishers why? These days I'd think most AAA publishers would be better off keeping people from seeing reviews until after they've already been suckered into buying the game. Why do you think they're pushing preorders so hard? Because they know their games are shit and that the only way people will buy them is if they haven't seen the reviews yet.

I may be getting overly cynical about the video game industry.

Why didn't they just send it in a regular, non-beeping box? They're practically asking for trouble.

"Hey, don't ship it in regular packaging, we're Ubisoft, we're too good for that. Put it in a small, black, beeping box."
"Won't that scare people?"
"Yeah, it'll be great!"

Ferisar:
LOL. That's how I'd bribe Greg Tito to give DA2 a higher score: I'd give him a baseball cap and a beanie. What the hell man, hahahaha.

A cap and a beanie, no. But they did give free Nexus 7's to every journalist at a preview event in the UK back in August or so I believe. That makes these practices a bit more suspect.

Deathfish15:
So Ubisoft is paying off press members with safes caring swag such as a copy of the game, beanies, and a baseball cap?

Is anyone else ignoring the whole "bomb scare" thing of this article and instead focusing on how this "PR stunt" is a possible attempt to influence reviews of their game? I cannot possibly be the only one who thinks this.

This happens a lot with a lot of big game releases, its not really a new thing. Actually if memory recalls, Yahtzee was sent a box that when opened played that "Never gonna give you up" song on repeat and had to be destroyed with a crowbar. When he got to the base it had some note about wrath being a sin and it was all linked back to Dantes Inferno.

Vivi22:

Ferisar:
LOL. That's how I'd bribe Greg Tito to give DA2 a higher score: I'd give him a baseball cap and a beanie. What the hell man, hahahaha.

A cap and a beanie, no. But they did give free Nexus 7's to every journalist at a preview event in the UK back in August or so I believe. That makes these practices a bit more suspect.

Which most of the press sent back and felt weird about having, because it was weird, and Ubisoft issued a public statement saying that it was weird (regardless of their original intent, which I doubt was in any way malicious), only furthering my point that it's not likely that the gaming press is filled with easily purchasable reviewers and critics. I'm sure it's not entirely impossible to sway them one way or another with a lot of small things, but that largely depends on the person at hand and how much exposure they've put themselves through in terms of interest and (again) falls in the camp of being something that is a fault of people being, well, people.

Ubisoft, what are you...and this was in Australia? Oh...
Oh jeeze...well, we know what Yahtzee's gonna have to import now, should he ever do a review of it...

And this is yet another example of how stupid the marketing departments of major companies can be.

But yeah... I'm still against the idea of spending millions to promote a game in stupid and expensive ways, pretty much exactly like EA.

So marketing has a funny side? This is good. Scaring overly paranoid groups is fun. Plus some peeps got a day off work!

I am happy.

well, Ubisoft is now entered in the "Moronic Marketing Hall of Fame." I have no idea why hey would think this was a good idea. Where is the awareness?

I don't know what they were thinking. Ninemsn doesn't cover video games, and even if they did, yesterday was State of Origin night so there was zero chance of any non-footy related news leaking out of New South Wales.

I really hope this turns into a lawsuit, unless Ubisoft is already settling things with them to avoid it having to go there. That is just the stupidest of all stupid stunts you can possibly pull, and we've seen some doozies from EA. Granted I don't know how laws work down in Austrailia, but even ignoring the fact that sending an anonymous black beeping box may or may not be illegal down there, I would be pissed if I was running a business, and a stunt like this disrupted the flow of the work day just so some other jackass can get some publicity for his crap.

erbkaiser:
Are Australian media that much in danger of bomb attacks that they immediately suspected foul play?

In this day and age, just about everyone is right to suspect an unmarked package, especially when it starts beeping. Frankly, I wouldn't have even gotten so far as entering the PIN code (for all I know, it could be arming the detonator that may or may not be in there). I'd have just taken that thing straight down to the local station for them to deal with (or called them down to have it hauled off, depending on my mood).

Xsjadoblayde:
So marketing has a funny side? This is good. Scaring overly paranoid groups is fun. Plus some peeps got a day off work!

I am happy.

In a day and age when even a random movie theater in the middle of absolutely nowhere can be the target of an attack, there's no such thing as "overly paranoid". Especially not when dealing with an unmarked package that alludes to a non-existent voice mail, and has now started beeping. I would almost go so far as to say that they did the most rational thing they could do.

what ever happened to a nice simple cardboard box?

And a beeping safe? Granted I'm not that far into the game, but I haven't encountered a beeping safe. He doesn't even use a keypad combination mechanism. If anything, they should have attached an AR code to the safe which would link to a website with instructions on how to open the safe.

WhiteTigerShiro:
I really hope this turns into a lawsuit, unless Ubisoft is already settling things with them to avoid it having to go there. That is just the stupidest of all stupid stunts you can possibly pull, and we've seen some doozies from EA. Granted I don't know how laws work down in Austrailia, but even ignoring the fact that sending an anonymous black beeping box may or may not be illegal down there, I would be pissed if I was running a business, and a stunt like this disrupted the flow of the work day just so some other jackass can get some publicity for his crap.

erbkaiser:
Are Australian media that much in danger of bomb attacks that they immediately suspected foul play?

In this day and age, just about everyone is right to suspect an unmarked package, especially when it starts beeping. Frankly, I wouldn't have even gotten so far as entering the PIN code (for all I know, it could be arming the detonator that may or may not be in there). I'd have just taken that thing straight down to the local station for them to deal with (or called them down to have it hauled off, depending on my mood).

Xsjadoblayde:
So marketing has a funny side? This is good. Scaring overly paranoid groups is fun. Plus some peeps got a day off work!

I am happy.

In a day and age when even a random movie theater in the middle of absolutely nowhere can be the target of an attack, there's no such thing as "overly paranoid". Especially not when dealing with an unmarked package that alludes to a non-existent voice mail, and has now started beeping. I would almost go so far as to say that they did the most rational thing they could do.

There is such a thing as overly paranoid, you are it. Enjoy!

WhiteTigerShiro:
In a day and age when even a random movie theater in the middle of absolutely nowhere can be the target of an attack, there's no such thing as "overly paranoid". Especially not when dealing with an unmarked package that alludes to a non-existent voice mail, and has now started beeping. I would almost go so far as to say that they did the most rational thing they could do.

Perhaps in the US that's the case but over here in Australia it's unheard of. The employees would have been following the procedure set out if a suspicious item arrives in the mail, as you said they did the rational thing.

That said Ubisoft isn't in the wrong nor was this a bad idea, if the voice mail had of been received the thing would have been cleared up. All they really needed was a better means of communication or better yet the AR idea Orangeapples had as it would have fit the game far better.

OT: Ah well, good try from Ubisoft and tip of the hat to them for their creativity, just next time do some better planning.

come on. have they watched too many movies? real bombs dont beep. beeping gives away their positions and they are supposed to be stealthy. this is B-movie level stunt here and they fell for it.

Deathfish15:

Is anyone else ignoring the whole "bomb scare" thing of this article and instead focusing on how this "PR stunt" is a possible attempt to influence reviews of their game? I cannot possibly be the only one who thinks this.

pretty much every big publisher does this crap, noones falling for it. you should look in youtube at some videos of review copies souvenyrs. they package a lot of crazy shit with it for some reason. mostly in hopes that the reviewer will wear/have the stuff whne doing the review thus free promotion.

WhiteTigerShiro:

In a day and age when even a random movie theater in the middle of absolutely nowhere can be the target of an attack, there's no such thing as "overly paranoid". Especially not when dealing with an unmarked package that alludes to a non-existent voice mail, and has now started beeping. I would almost go so far as to say that they did the most rational thing they could do.

i find it utterly sad the the most rational thing is also one of the most stupid thing done. We have became so paranoid as a species that we will go to any lenght of stupidity to satisfy our paranoia. and the worst thing is, the paranoia is not unfounded.

Capcha: feces are cool

oh come on!

Remember there's no such thing as bad publicity, kids.

*sigh* Fucking Ubisoft... Idiots.

Deathfish15:
So Ubisoft is paying off press members with safes caring swag such as a copy of the game, beanies, and a baseball cap?

Is anyone else ignoring the whole "bomb scare" thing of this article and instead focusing on how this "PR stunt" is a possible attempt to influence reviews of their game? I cannot possibly be the only one who thinks this.

Why is it so hard for the developers to just send a single copy of their game and state "here's our game, please play it and tell us what you think"? They might not even have to go that far and instead no free copies sent out; basically allow reviewing companies to fork over a bit of their Ad revenue to purchase the games needed to be reviewed. Either way it's far better than the Ubisoft method that smells hell of a lot like stinking herring!

So firstly, it isn't developers who have anything to do with this sort of thing, this is entirely the domain of PR teams. Secondly, paying off? With a beanie and a baseball cap? You seriously think that would influence a reviewer's score?

Well, from a common sense standpoint, they're idiots for doing it because the legal backlash from something like this is potentially heavy. If there was some kind of warning so people knew it was just a PR thing it'd be another story but the lost income from the company having to evacuate the area seems like grounds for a lawsuit. Probably should have just stuck with some kind of digital breadcrumb trail with the game hidden somewhere.

PFfffthahahahahahahahaaaahhaaaaaaahah

Well done Ubisoft for making a game launch look like a convincing terror plot and well done Australia for assuming the worst and that anyone would actual commit acts of terrorism in Australia. It's Australia for Pete's sake!

RicoADF:
That said Ubisoft isn't in the wrong nor was this a bad idea, if the voice mail had of been received the thing would have been cleared up.

No, they are in the wrong. When "Make sure to leave a message so that people aren't calling the cops left and right" is part of the plan, it's time to go back to the drawing board on your promotional idea.

Deathfish15:
So Ubisoft is paying off press members with safes caring swag such as a copy of the game, beanies, and a baseball cap?

You nailed it. That's exactly what Ubisoft is doing. They are paying off professional game journalists, who rely on their credibility and reputations for their livelihood, with t-shirts and hats. Presumably those shirts and hats are worth a few millions dollars each, because once a journalist is found to have accepted these 'bribes', they'll never be able to work in the industry again. Seems like a fair tradeoff.

umm... duh. Beeping black box, you are a fool or just out of touch, if not immediately cautious of it.
still not as bad as having 999 different special/collector/exclusive/ultimate editions of a game to pre-order

Wouldn't surprise me if this was deliberate. Think about it, it's a pretty good way of getting publicity.

Oh, this is SO going on Cracked's next list of viral marketing blunders. I don't think this is the first time a Ubisoft game was involved in an advertising cluster*%$

Deathfish15:
So Ubisoft is paying off press members with safes caring swag such as a copy of the game, beanies, and a baseball cap?

Is anyone else ignoring the whole "bomb scare" thing of this article and instead focusing on how this "PR stunt" is a possible attempt to influence reviews of their game? I cannot possibly be the only one who thinks this.

Why is it so hard for the developers to just send a single copy of their game and state "here's our game, please play it and tell us what you think"? They might not even have to go that far and instead no free copies sent out; basically allow reviewing companies to fork over a bit of their Ad revenue to purchase the games needed to be reviewed. Either way it's far better than the Ubisoft method that smells hell of a lot like stinking herring!

It was just a fun little thing man. Nothing to get all up in arms about.

Now it would be a real hitter if it was the Mass Effect 3 strategy where they put one of the reviewers in the fucking game.

 

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