Ubisoft, the company behind blockbuster video game Watch Dogs, has been doing some excellent marketing for what has become one of the most talked about releases of the year. They brought us the thrilling Digital Shadows experience. They filled the game with interesting Easter Eggs to find. They even unveiled how real world hacks influence their own game. While Watch Dogs is taking off and has rave reviews, they did hit one hurdle today.
A reporter for Ninemsn, a major Australian online publication based in Sydney, received a black safe in the mail, along with a blacked-out note telling them to "check their voicemail." The reporter didn't use voicemail, so they went straight for the safe, which started to beep when opened. As no one else on the editorial staff at Ninemsn had received a similar package (which would indicate it was a promo,) the publication alerted the authorities. So then the bomb squad showed up.
The entire floor had to be evacuated, four police cars arrived, and a police rescue unit was on the scene. The police "forced" open the safe to find that inside was a copy of Watch Dogs, and nothing threatening whatsoever.
As it turns out, Ninemsn actually doesn't cover video games. "The PR company no doubt got carried away with their creativity and ended up sending us something the bomb squad had to open up," said Ninemsn editor Hal Crawford.
The voicemail was the missing component of the stunt, as it told media members that they had received a special package about the game.
Ubisoft issued a statement quickly, "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."