Home Gaming Call of Duty fakes terrorist attack in disgusting Twitter marketing stunt

Call of Duty fakes terrorist attack in disgusting Twitter marketing stunt

2 min read
18

2890924-5377697944-Call-

We’re deep into the silly months of the year, where nearly every big publisher on the planet is fighting hard for as much time as they can in the spotlight to promote their upcoming holiday season title. No one knows this time better than Activision, who have constantly watched over the launch of a new, annual Call of Duty for a close to a decade now. So you’d expect a company with that much experience to know how to do this in the best way possible, right?

Well if Activision wanted attention, they’ve got it. Just not for the right reasons.

If you’re a night owl on Twitter, you may have seen an account you didn’t exactly recognise pop up on your Twitter feed. “Current Events Aggregate”, a Twitter account made to look like so many other generalised Breaking News accounts, began tweeting about an explosion in Singapore. This very quickly turned into a racing feed describing a terrible terrorist attack in the country, except for one vital point. There was no explosion. There was no attack. And that Twitter account stirring up all the noise? It was Call of Duty’s account, rebranded.

Tweets that would’ve regularly looked like this:

Now looked like this:

Screen_Shot_2015-09-29_at_6.25.43_PM.0

The only thing that survived the transition was the account handle, which still read “@CallofDuty”. But as Game Informer shows, that information doesn’t always immediately pop up. Worse still, if you were someone who has no real idea what Call of Duty is and say you’re in (god forbid) Singapore while reading the tweets, it very likely instilled a terrible feeling of pure fear in you. All for Activision to market Black Ops III in the most tacky, thoughtless way I’ve seen in a long time.

The feed continued from there, describing how Martial Law had come into effect, quarantine zones were being set up and officials in hazmat suits were beginning to flood the streets. It’s a glimpse into an event that sounded like one of the most horrific terrorist attacks in history – instead winding down into a prolonged session of fabricated fear that Activision wasn’t even apologetic about.

It’s one of the worst marketing stunts I’ve seen in ages, and one that probably caused a bit of confusion and fear for those close to the fictional events. There really is no excuse for potentially causing a state of panic around a city just for a short marketing kick, but all the negative press this has generated is (sadly) working exactly into what the stunt was meant to achieve.

It’s still tactless, harmful and frankly disgusting.

Last Updated: September 30, 2015

18 Comments

  1. This is utterly disgraceful, Activision must know that their titles aren’t bringing in as much as they’ve planned, so they default to fear tactics…. Utterly and stupendously disgraceful, I’d at least expect more from a company this big… Shows you what desperation does….

    Reply

  2. Grand Admiral Chief

    September 30, 2015 at 08:47

    CoD yet again disgusts me. At least everyone is now discussing how disgusting it is

    Reply

  3. HairyEwok

    September 30, 2015 at 08:48

    And this from a country full of people that’s really touchy feely over terrorism…… they sure stirred the wrong shit up. I’m amazed MURICA didn’t deploy their entire military fleet to liberate Singapore from the “attacks”

    Reply

  4. Pariah

    September 30, 2015 at 08:56

    Wow. Seriously, people are too touchy. Soon saying “shit” is going to make people call you disgusting and awful. Because it offends someone somewhere, guaranteed. Right?

    Reply

    • Nikola

      September 30, 2015 at 09:01

      Thank you! Everybody is soooooo sensitive now days my word can’t say anything anymore…Everybody has gotten soft!

      Reply

      • Pariah

        September 30, 2015 at 09:06

        Not soft, they’re all jumping on the SJW bandwagon. It’s the new in-thing you know, to defend whatever it is you can imagine needs defending.

        Reply

        • Nikola

          September 30, 2015 at 09:10

          Yeah very true!

          Reply

  5. BurninZ

    September 30, 2015 at 08:56

    AH man that is really appalling!! In today’s climate where terrorism is a regular occurrence, and affects most of the globe; to even think that this marketing stunt was ok to go ahead with baffles me! Some PR dude / lady needs a baldy good klap! Shame on you Activision!

    Reply

  6. Pariah

    September 30, 2015 at 08:57

    And yes, I think this was rather clever. “That was a glimpse into the future in our game” – brilliant. Seriously, brilliant. You want games to be engaging, to lose yourself in them. What better way to get you to taste that? Next thing you’ll cry that CoD made you wet your pants.

    Reply

    • (Umar) Must be Cipher

      September 30, 2015 at 09:01

      errrr…….It’s not about offending anyone like you’re saying, it’s about the possibility of causing hysteria over fake news. It’s not about the world becoming more ‘touchy’. Fake news, using real world locations, citing terrorist activity is irresponsibl. Far from brilliance.

      Reply

      • Pariah

        September 30, 2015 at 09:06

        So what you’re saying is that it’s irresponsible to do something that requires a smidgen of intelligence to understand? You’re saying, act and be the ideal thing, marketing or otherwise, for the lowest common denominator. People with 50 IQ? Yeah. NO. Any amount of reading further, checking ANY other news site AT ALL, and you know what you’d find? Nothing. Yep. Nothing.

        The only noise made is by people who’ve followed the typical SJW route and are crying “but what if you made someone shit their pants? YOU’RE EVIL AND WE HATE YOU”

        Reply

        • (Umar) Must be Cipher

          September 30, 2015 at 09:17

          I don’t see the SJW angle of this nor do I see the requirement for any form of intelligence. Some people, like Allesandro manetioned, could be living in Singapore and not know what Call of Duty even is. In an age of constant terrorist fear-mongering, it’s disgusting to play on that fact. It’s got nothing to do with SJW, and I’m kind of tired of people thinking that if you defend something you believe is worth defending, then you’re suddenly an SJW or you’re on the SJW ‘bandwagon’ because it’s the new in-thing…

          Reply

          • Pariah

            September 30, 2015 at 09:23

            As I said, all it takes is to check any other news site, and they’d find the truth. That’s it. Checking an actual news site. A simple google, which you can do from your phone btw, and you’d find the answers you need. Plus, let’s not forget that this all came from the official CoD account. @CallOfDuty. And again, all anyone would have to do is google that. They’d find a game. Even if they didn’t know what it was. Just a google. A simple google. And people are angry because they expect that nobody overseas knows how to use a search engine? Isn’t that judgmental and prejudiced in itself?

            This new internet age is all hell-bent on what-ifs and could-have-beens. And it’s fucking stupid. It’s also what the entire SJW thing is based off of. People are more angry at the prospect of offending someone, even if nobody actually is offended. It’s like anything will set people off now.

  7. konfab

    September 30, 2015 at 08:59

    I am sure they were just advertising a new clock or something…
    *runs*

    Reply

    • Pariah

      September 30, 2015 at 09:00

      Tick tock, here comes the croc. *flies

      Reply

  8. Alien Emperor Trevor

    September 30, 2015 at 09:25

    Activision marketing pro: “We should do what HG Wells did with War of the Worlds and broadcast fake terrorist attack news bros! Everyone will be like “whoa awesome!” and rush out to buy COD!”

    A little knowledge is more dangerous than none.

    Reply

  9. Raptor Rants

    September 30, 2015 at 12:52

    Wow. Just… Just wow

    Reply

  10. Dontsuepls

    September 30, 2015 at 16:06

    Singapore is a small island of 700sqkm and we have cell phones. If martial law was ever imposed, we would be the first to know about it and not some juvenile clowns halfway across the world.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Check Also

There Won’t be a Mainline Call of Duty Game Released in 2023

The Call of Duty franchise has been a staple in the gaming industry since its debut in 200…