With a title like this, you just know Dell's stunt has to have ended badly, and the reports certainly don't disappoint.
Every now and then, a news story surfaces about a media stunt that is so brainless that it defies logic. There was Sony's horrible "All I Want For X-Mas is a PSP" fake viral marketing site, Acclaim's ... Well, anything Acclaim Entertainment did while it was trying to hold off bankruptcy, and now there's Dell's "Masked Gunman" stunt.
Two Dell employees, Bryan Chester and his boss Daniel Rawson, have been arrested after they caused a panic at Dell's offices in Round Rock, Texas. But, honestly, it sounds like they pretty much deserved it.
The two men decided to create an internal marketing stunt to promote the Dell Streak Tablet at the offices, but didn't tell anyone else at the Dell Round Rock Campus. Now, this isn't uncommon when it comes to such tactics, but Chester and Rawson probably should have let them know about what they had planned.
Chester dressed up as a biker (apparently because the tablet can interface with Harley Davidson motorcycles), wearing a black mask, and walked through the one of the campus's buildings carrying two metal objects as he yelled for everyone to move into the lobby.
Unsurprisingly, employees didn't react well to some strange dude stomping through their offices ordering them to corral in the lobby. A bunch of folks called 911, claiming there was a "masked gunman" in the building. When the police arrived, they talked to Daniel Rawson, "who refused to comply and give information initially about who and what the masked man was doing there. When he did finally explain they eventually confronted Chester somewhere else in the building."
Here's the police description of what happened:
Essentially, a member of the marketing group (who wore dark clothing with a face-hiding, skull-pattern mask) held aloft small metallic items as he rushed through densely staffed areas while yelling "go to the lobby," believed by many of the 400-plus witnesses to be directives under armed threat (as was reported to police). Teams of heavily armed officers swept through the buildings to locate the threats and usher victims to safety.
Chester and Rawson have been arrested and are now up on multiple charges, including Interfering With Public Duties and Deadly Conduct.
I swear: Some days, it's just not possible to facepalm hard enough.