Sat. Feb 4th, 2023
Here's what the @CallofDuty account briefly looked like on Sept. 29.

Here’s what the @CallofDuty account briefly looked like on Sept. 29.

The director of Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 has apologized for a widely criticized marketing stunt that used Twitter to broadcast details of a fictional terrorist attack under the name “Current Event Aggregate.”

At the end of last month, the @CallofDuty Twitter account reached nearly three million followers saw a surprising tweet of the account: “BREAKING NEWS: Unconfirmed reports are coming in of an explosion on the north shore of the Singapore Marina.” Eighteen similar tweets followed over the next two hours, discussing details of the fake bombings, including “no-fly orders”, roadblocks, rioting gangs, a quarantine zone and a state of martial law enforced by drones in the Southeast Asian country.

During the campaign, the Duty The name and design of the Twitter account have been changed to support a mock “Current Events Aggregate” branding, with the tagline “Where we bring you real news.” The only indication that the “breaking news” was fictional (other than the light gray @CallOfDuty username still visible on feeds) was a single tweet posted more than four hours after the marketing stunt began: “This was a glimpse into the future fiction of #BlackOps3.”

Reactions to the stunt on Twitter mainly ranged from confusion to disgust, though few public reactions seemed genuinely concerned about the “attack.” Many assumed the account had been hacked, while others thought the publisher was irresponsible for posting alarming details of a fake attack in a real place. A tweet from @robthomas611 was indicative of a broader reaction: “I would buy this game, but not now. Your marketing choice is reprehensible. The marketing director should be fired.”

Activision and developer Treyarch have not officially commented on the controversy for the past two weeks. But in a recent interview with IGN, black ops 3‘s single-player director Jason Blundell said he was “personally… very sorry for anyone who watched it and got the wrong idea because it really wasn’t meant to be.”

While noting that he was not involved in the marketing, Blundell said he and the team at Treyarch were “as shocked as everyone was when it started to blow up because we were essentially ready for a story beat. So again, very sorry to anyone who took it that way. It wasn’t meant to be that way at all — it was meant to be a preparation for a campaign element.”

Activision’s Twitter stunt joins a long line of questionable game marketing campaigns, from EA’s failed, sin-focused marketing plan to Dante’s Hell to those NSFW banner ads for super shady social games Evony. There was also Activision’s own seedy pop-up strip club to promote Real crime. However, they all pale in comparison to Acclaim’s frenzied PR stunts, including advertising Turok on tombstones. By comparison, this Twitter stunt seems as tame as a radio broadcast of War of the worlds.

By akfire1

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