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"Dangerous" free petrol stunt backfires on EA

By Matt Martin

Mon 08 Sep 2008 7:23am GMT / 3:23am EDT / 12:23am PDT

MP demands apology for "completely irresponsible" 20,000 giveaway

Electronic Arts was forced to abandon a promotion for Mercenaries 2: World in Flames after it caused gridlock in Finsbury Park, north London.

The company planned to give away GBP 20,000 worth of free petrol to promote the Pandemic developed game released last Friday, but had to stop the stunt after outrage from the local community and its MP.

Lynne Featherstone, MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, has called on the publisher to apologise to local residents for causing "misery" due to traffic chaos, reports The Guardian.

"Trying to recreate Venezuelan-style fuel riots on the streets of London is completely irresponsible and downright dangerous," slammed Featherstone.

"Whilst a lucky few might have got some free petrol, hundreds of local residents have faced misery on their daily journeys this morning. They deserve an apology," she added.

EA began dishing out free petrol to drivers on a first-come, first-served basis around 6:30am, but pulled the promotion after 11am, with around GBP 13,000-worth of petrol given away.

Mercenaries 2: World in Flames is set in Venezuela with player's working for different warring factions in a conflict over oil supplies.

The title has already been attacked by supporters of president Hugo Chavez who described the title as an example of US "psychological terror" on the Latin American country.

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How can this be described as a 'Backfire'? For their 20k EA have had the game publicised on every UK news channel and all over the internet. They've created exactly the sort of buzz that their marketing people would have been dreaming of!

Posted:8 years ago


Mat Bettinson Business Development Manager, Tantalus Media

97 0 0.0
I had exactly the same thought. Last time I worked in a marketing capacity I would have called that an unprecidented success.

Posted:8 years ago


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