Mercenaries 2 Gas Giveaway Goes Awry

Mercenaries 2 Gas Giveaway Goes Awry

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A stunt to give away gasoline in London to promote EA's new Mercenaries 2 has, predictably, been roundly criticized by authorities and local residents.

The giveaway was put on by Electronic Arts in support of Mercenaries 2: World in Flames, a near-future shooter in which the player takes on a treacherous Venezuelan dictator who seizes the country's oil supplies. Beginning at 6:30 a.m. local time and running for four hours, drivers who could make it to the Last Stop garage in north London were given roughly 70 bucks worth of free gas.

The utterly unsurprising result, according to the BBC, was chaos. "Whilst a lucky few might have got free petrol, hundreds of residents have faced misery," said Hornsey and Wood Green MP Lynne Featherstone. "Trying to recreate Venezuelan-style fuel riots on the streets of London is completely irresponsible and downright dangerous. Hundreds of residents have faced misery on their daily journeys this morning. They deserve an apology for being the victims of such an ill-thought-out media stunt."

Security personnel had to be brought in to deal with the mess, including not just people looking for free gas but also local residents who had difficulty just getting out of their driveways. One local woman described it as "totally irresponsible," adding, "What an extraordinary thing to do. I can't believe they've been allowed to do it. This area is usually very quiet but look at it now, there's cars queuing everywhere. It's just creating unnecessary problems."

Of course, people who were actually able to get free gas weren't quite so irritated with the scheme; Prince Davis, for one, described it as a "genius idea" and said he would "definitely be buying the game." And EA's Louise Marchant seemed to be taking a page from the "any publicity is good publicity" book, saying only that the lineups were similar to some scenes in the game. "It's set in Venezuela, you play a mercenary and fuel is used as a currency," she said.

From where I sit, the only thing surprising about any of this is that anyone is surprised about this. Offering free gas on a first-come, first-served basis in a high-density urban area - what could possibly go wrong? EA is tremendously lucky this didn't turn out far worse than it did, and while the company is probably slapping itself on the back for a job well-done, this kind of boneheaded stunt ranks right up there with throwing turkeys out of helicopters: It's just a bad idea.

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Yeah, because considering that gas prices rise daily this so obviously wasn't going to turn into a clusterfuck.

Good job, EA. Next time you want to do people a favor like this, blow up the gas station, instead.

Dopes.

I don't have a car.

I walk.

It is healthier.

See developers, advertise mass chaos like this and I will give serious consideration into looking into the game.

Well it worked dident it they got allot of publicity

Although I loved the reference, I'm not sure many kids these days have even seen an episode of WKRP, let alone the classic, "As God as my witness, I swear I thought turkeys could fly," episode.

SaintWaldo:
Although I loved the reference, I'm not sure many kids these days have even seen an episode of WKRP, let alone the classic, "As God as my witness, I swear I thought turkeys could fly," episode.

Just you, me, and Malygris, I think. But it made my day, so, I'm calling it a win.

Susan Arendt:

SaintWaldo:
Although I loved the reference, I'm not sure many kids these days have even seen an episode of WKRP, let alone the classic, "As God as my witness, I swear I thought turkeys could fly," episode.

Just you, me, and Malygris, I think. But it made my day, so, I'm calling it a win.

I'm right up there too. Nearly made me sneeze out my coffee. (I'm blaming that on allergies to my fellow cubical-denizens.)

Now, to get out some masking tape and mark out a door on the carpeting...

-- Steve

Susan Arendt:

SaintWaldo:
Although I loved the reference, I'm not sure many kids these days have even seen an episode of WKRP, let alone the classic, "As God as my witness, I swear I thought turkeys could fly," episode.

Just you, me, and Malygris, I think. But it made my day, so, I'm calling it a win.

I agree, total headshot of a closing line. I just wanted to let the rugrats know where it comes from.

SaintWaldo:

Susan Arendt:

SaintWaldo:
Although I loved the reference, I'm not sure many kids these days have even seen an episode of WKRP, let alone the classic, "As God as my witness, I swear I thought turkeys could fly," episode.

Just you, me, and Malygris, I think. But it made my day, so, I'm calling it a win.

I agree, total headshot of a closing line. I just wanted to let the rugrats know where it comes from.

Sadly, it wasn't syndicated enough.

Logan Frederick:

SaintWaldo:

Susan Arendt:

SaintWaldo:
Although I loved the reference, I'm not sure many kids these days have even seen an episode of WKRP, let alone the classic, "As God as my witness, I swear I thought turkeys could fly," episode.

Just you, me, and Malygris, I think. But it made my day, so, I'm calling it a win.

I agree, total headshot of a closing line. I just wanted to let the rugrats know where it comes from.

Sadly, it wasn't syndicated enough.

I caught a few episodes of WKRP in Cincinatti, but didn't get the ref. I thought it was more to do with Rolls Royce chucking frozen turkeys into their engines to check for bird damage.

It seems a tad insensitive of EA to show off how much money they've got by giving away free petrol, when the rest of Britain is struggling to keep up with fuel costs. I'm sure they didn't mean anything by it, but certain right-wing establishments (I'm looking at you Daily Mail) could interpret this as a 'My penis is bigger than your penis' kinda move.

SaintWaldo:
Although I loved the reference, I'm not sure many kids these days have even seen an episode of WKRP, let alone the classic, "As God as my witness, I swear I thought turkeys could fly," episode.

They're hitting the ground like sacks of wet cement!

I asked in the comments on the story about the Spore servers being clogged if EA was being run by idiots. I guess this stunt is my answer. No, it's not run by idiots, idiots are much smarter than this.

They did this in LA too with similiar results...except it wasn't shut down.

...throwing turkeys out of helicopters: It's just a good idea.

Fix'd. And no, sadly I didn't get the reference.
Anyway, this is just another over-the-top publicity stunt and they're lucky nobody got hurt.

EA, the epitomy of how Darwinism fails.

How about they get Chris Angel Mindfreak to do a stunt? That will always rule.

Hah!

'Oh, its only England! Its a small place! Even at one of their major cities there won't be that many people!'

:P

It's ironic that the drivers of the cars were wasting precious fuel waiting for fuel.

Something tells me those who went there wanted the chaos to happen.

Just a hunch.

HalfShadow:
Yeah, because considering that gas prices rise daily this so obviously wasn't going to turn into a clusterfuck.

They don't, though! Gas in my area has gone down by 40 cents over the last month.

-- Alex

 

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