Wednesday 26 October 2016

Call of Duty misfires with PR stunt which faked terror attack on Singapore

David Kearns

Published 01/10/2015 | 12:20

An image tweeted as part of the 'terror attack' on Singapore Credit: Call of Duty
An image tweeted as part of the 'terror attack' on Singapore Credit: Call of Duty

A controversial PR campaign that stimulated a ‘terror attack’ in Singapore to launch the newest Call of Duty game has sparked widespread condemnation.

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Ahead of its worldwide release on 6 November, publisher Activision launched a series of tweets, setting up the opening scene for a fictional attack in Singapore.

Aimed that teasing fans about the plot for the latest CoD game, many social media users were unimpressed, saying the scenario was in bad taste.

The misfired PR stunt sent out a string of 20 supposedly "live" tweets on Wednesday from the CoD’s official Twitter account to the profile’s 2.8 million followers reporting a fictional terrorist attack in Singapore.

To make events more convincing, the account switched its username and avatar on its verified Twitter account to read "Current Events Aggregate" with the tagline “We bring you real news”.

The tweets went on to describe a 30 mile quarantine zone, advising citizens to stay indoors, and reported police dispersing rioting crowds with live gun fire.

More tweets were sent out subsequently describing "large plumes of dark smoke", "shots fired at newly established blockades", and saying: “A state of Martial Law has been declared and will remain in place until the incident is firmly understood."

Screenshots from the game were included with some later tweets, before the final one revealed the earlier ones were part of an online campaign for Call of Duty: Black Ops 3.

The social media campaign was met with widespread criticism, as some users pointed out it could have incited unwarranted panic.

"COD's latest social media campaign is dangerous & is gonna cause panic. What idiot thought this was a good idea?" one user wrote.

While another said: "Was reading about some kind of explosion in singapore and was deeply concerned until i realized that the tweets were from call of duty..."

Others have criticised the campaign to be in poor taste.

Despite many calling the campaign “distasteful” and “offensive”, the tweets are still live and Activision and CoD developers Treyarch have refused to comment on the PR stunt.

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