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A Bomb Squad Was Called Out After A PR Stunt Went Very Wrong

A PR campaign for a video game involved sending journalists a safe without any explanation, so one reporter called the police.

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This little black safe caused a bomb scare in Sydney, Australia, after a PR stunt backfired.

Watch Dogs PR stunt backfires, bomb squad called to newsroom office. http://t.co/E1rcmyXzL1

Kotaku@Kotaku

Watch Dogs PR stunt backfires, bomb squad called to newsroom office. http://t.co/E1rcmyXzL1

7:18 AM - 28 May 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

The safe was sent out to a reporter at NineMSN with a letter which said "check your voicemail" and nothing more.

gengame.net

The reporter, however, did not use voicemail. A code was taped to the top of the safe, but when it was entered it wouldn't open – it started beeping instead.

It turned out to be part of a campaign to promote the much-hyped Watch Dogs game, but staff were frightened it could be a bomb.

The NineMSN offices in Australia Square were evacuated on Tuesday as four police cars and a rescue van turned up.

Police scanned the safe, forced it open and found that it simply contained a copy of the game, two promotional hats, and a note pointing out that the "story" was under embargo and couldn't be reported until 5pm.

The journalist was in tears.

@Brentus88 @drpiotrowski Yup. Stood next to the journo who received it - she was in tears. Really creepy.

Natasha Lee@tashlee

@Brentus88 @drpiotrowski Yup. Stood next to the journo who received it - she was in tears. Really creepy.

5:14 AM - 28 May 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

This is definitely the other side of the line in terms of what it's safe for a PR company to send anonymously to a newsroom. The thing was black, heavy and slightly creepy.We did check with other newsrooms to see if they had received a similar package as we thought it was a PR stunt, but no-one else had. We weren't panicked at any point, but given there was no note explaining what it was, we had to take sensible precautions.
As part of a themed promotion for Watch Dogs, our team in Australia sent voicemail messages to some local media alerting them that they'd receive a special package related to the game.Unfortunately, the delivery to Ninemsn didn't go as planned, and we unreservedly apologise 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.