The publicity accruing from high profile PR events is certainly something to debate. Some see it as raising brand awareness, some as a service to a section of the fan base, some even argue these events have a direct impact on sales. All of these are hard to measure. However, what’s key with these kind of events is that they must be flawless, or as close to perfect as possible.
Last week a number of large websites published news that 2K games and gearbox were putting on a free bungee jump for fans of Borderlands 2 from 10am to 4pm this Sunday passed. With a six hour window in which jumps would be happening, it was suggested that a huge number of attendees would get a jump. Each brave soul that did so would also receive a free copy of the game.
This article is not a review of the game dear reader, but an account of the much touted publicity stunt to coincide with the launch of Borderlands 2. For the full newb review, check back later this week – it’s a big game and we want to ensure we play all of it before we advise you!
Arriving just before 9am I was greeted by a large queue, but with no sign of a bungee crane ready to go. It’s fine though right? They’ve got a whole hour to set the crane up and get people jumping for their complimentary copy of the game. Dutifully we followed the queue around the corner and joined the back, where we patiently waited.
As 10am came and went without the crane even being ready for action, I started to worry. With around 200 people waiting in line in front of us and another 150 or so behind, the crowd began to murmour. This murmuring grew more and more aggravated as the weather began to turn.
10 minutes later and our place in the queue shifted forward some 30m. Hurrah! They must have started. No such luck. At 10.20 the crane was still not operational and our advance along the line was clearly due to pissed off punters heading for the hills… Or home at least.
A little before 11am two sheepish looking men in purple Borderlands 2 tees walked to the back of the queue and began talking to the crowd. As they worked their way along, relaying the same story; that they hadn’t anticipated such a crowd and it was extremely unlikely that any of us would get to jump, it was clear that the dripping wet crowd were not happy.
Why hadn’t they told us this an hour ago? Why weren’t they up and running on schedule? Where was our apology for this shambles?
A little later the PR man returned with a box of branded swag, check our twitter or Facebook for details of how to win it.
The promise of a free game for doing something daft brought the crowd. A catalogue of failings on behalf of PR had them leaving cold, wet and without the game they had turned out to claim.
I didn’t need the free stuff, dear reader, I pre-ordered the game and have it sitting on the side at home. I went for the story. I waiver this isn’t quite the story 2K wanted.
- Tom Wallis