The thing about PR people is, their minds don't work like the rest of humanity's. Their world is superficial, their language is bullshit, double-speak. They're the people that coined the phrase, "There's no such thing as bad publicity" yeah? Tell that to Gary Glitter. Of course PR in video games is no exception. For some reason, more often than not, publishers hire the most odious, amoral, coked-up arseholes to be in charge of their marketing and public relations and totally trust them to go through with whatever mental idea that pops into their drug-frazzled brain. Lest we forget the genius idea (that never went through after public outcry) Acclaim had to promote Burnout 2, to pay off any speeding ticket for anyone who bought the game.
Well, Reverb Publishing have kept up the tradition of stupid PR moves in video games with the little for their latest digital title, Edge of Space. Reverb put out a statement that if Edge of Space got approved on Steam Greenlight, it would donate $5000 to the Humane Society. So essentially, Reverb is exploiting people's love of animals to drum up support for their title. Not exactly a moral way of promoting a game, but at least it would mean some money goes towards the lovely animals right?
But this if gaming PR, remember? Reverb went for the obvious hard sell with a shameless attempt at guilt-tripping gamers,
"if the game doesn't get approval, that money will disappear, like a puff of smoke in the uncaring wind, leaving poor kitties to survive in the harsh elements, be placed in harm's way and possibly scheduled for euthanasia. The challenge is out there, and for a simple 'yes' vote on Steam's Greenlight consumers can actively take a role in saving the lives of kitties."
So, in a nutshell, their promotional campaign adds up to, "SUPPORT OUR GAME OR THESE KITTENS WILL FUCKING DIE, AND IT'LL BE ALL YOUR FAULT FOR NOT LIKING OUR GAME!" Whatever happened to free posters and key rings?
As you can imagine, this shameless exploitation of innocent animals caused a bit of a furore with both Reverb Publishing and Edge of Space developer, Handyman Studios, causing Reverb to quickly backtrack. Speaking to Eurogamer, Jake Crane, from Handyman, stated, "Hey everyone! There has been a misunderstanding on the marketing side of Edge of Space. We do not support guilt voting in any way and our sincere apologies go out to anyone who felt that way." So it looks like the PR people did one line too many and went with whatever, bat shit, crazy idea it could come up with.
So Eurogamer approached the morally lacking scabs at Reverb for a comment and it turned out it was all one big lie,
"Even before the promotion was approved Reverb had decided to make a donation of $5,000 to the Humane Society today, this was just a fun way of drumming up some attention for the game. The release was meant to grab attention and call readers to action, but we regret if we made anyone uncomfortable or angry with its content.
So Reverb, not only exploited animal lovers publicity, but they also lied about it too. Which, in the grand scheme of things, is better as the Human Society gets their $5000. Lesson learnt then? No, it's PR! no one ever learns anything. Reverb's vice president, Doug Kennedy dumped a load of righteous indignation on Edge of Space's Steam Greenlight page,
"I challenge anyone else on this board to make a donation to the Humane Society, I committed $5000, and we requested a vote of YES for the game. If anyone did their homework you would know we have made a variety of donations to animal organizations. if you don't want to vote for the game I fully respect that, if times are tough and money us tight a "yes" vote would be greatly appreciated, provided the company continues to do well, we will continue to fund and support a number of animal organizations, either way its a win - win for the kitties. (Lastly, does anyone really think that that we were not going to make the $5000 donation, come on folks, seriously? I've been in the industry for 20 years, I remember when it was fun, lighten up a bit and appreciate the fact that a great organization like the Humane Society is getting a ton of attention and a nice contribution)."No offence Douggy, but unless you can prove it, I don't believe you even donated five fucking cents to the Humane Society. And even if you did, it doesn't excuse your company trivialising animal death for the sake of publicising a video game. You made a dumb idea, it blew up in your retched face. It's no one else's fault but your own. Deal with it and move on, try to learn your lesson and shut up about it if you can't give a simple apology.
But if any of you reading are gamers who love animals, then let me go off topic and draw your attention to the plight of The Gaming Goose. One of the few genuinely interesting and funny gaming people on youtube. Thing is, his dog, Lily was born with cataracts. But the surgery costs over $6000. He's been able to pay for half, but needs help to save Lily's other eye. So check his site for details and make a donation to a legitimate worthy cause