THQ are facing an environmental backlash when a publicity stunt for a new warfare based video game released thousands of balloons carrying advertisements into the San Francisco bay.
Rod Fujita, a senior oceans scientist for the Environmental Defense Fund told the San Francisco Chronicle “When I looked out the window and saw thousands of balloons dropping straight into the bay, I was flabbergasted. I never expected to see something like this in San Francisco, where there’s such concern about the bay and pollution.”
THQ released 10,000 red balloons to promote the new game Homefront? which is based in the future, after the United States is invaded by nuclear armed troops from North Korea. THQ held a mock lunchtime rally at Yerba Buena Gardens to “take to the streets to demonstrate against the North Korean regime and the treatment of its citizens.”
The staged rally was highlighted by the massive balloon launch to ‘simulate a method used by South Korea to send messages of hope to the North’.
The balloons contained an offer from GameStop video store to allow gamers to ‘receive the resistance multi player pack, featuring an exclusive weapon.’
Sadly, the stunt went badly wrong when strong winds sent thousands of them plunging into the bay, a few blocks away. People on Twitter and other social networking sites blasted the company for the concept, saying that the whole PR campaign has caused bay pollution. GameStop were quick to distance themselves from the event, saying “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 … and Game-Stop had no prior knowledge of it.”
THQ have said they have used an 100% organic product which is 100% biodegradable, with no history of causing environmental problems. THQ, aware of negative publicity have hired a clean up crew to clear the mess.
KitGuru says: A nice idea, but poorly executed, in the wrong place.