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THQ's Homefront balloon stunt sparks eco-outrage

A lofty promotion for THQ's Homefront has landed the publisher in lukewarm water. Yesterday, THQ attempted to grab the attention of GDC attendees by releasing hundreds of red balloons into the San Francisco skyline. The stunt backfired shortly thereafter when the balloons settled en masse in the water around the San Francisco Bay Bridge, possibly breaking state legal codes, and definitely the hearts of Californian environmentalists.

Soon after the balloons fell to earth, THQ was attacked on all fronts by angry Facebookers, Twitterers and San Francisco activists who responded as if the entire THQ staff had personally taken a dump in the city's sacred waters.


Above: Oh the humanity!!

One sternly worded letter, sent to a local GameStop by San Francisco artist Camron Assadi, read, "The idiots in your marketing department released hundreds of red balloons to promote a video game at GDC. Now those balloons are trash in the Bay. What are you going to do about it? Do you have a boat out there collecting this trash?"

Though the GameStop name adorned the balloons, the local retailer quickly distanced itself from the promotion. In a statement to the press it claimed, "We understand the concerns consumers have regarding the impact balloons can have on the environment. However, the balloon drop stunt in San Francisco was created by THQ, the publisher of Homefront, and GameStop had no prior knowledge of it."


Above: THQ's marketing team faces swift Californian justice

In defense of its alleged eco-terrorist actions, THQ issued its own statement, explaining, "The balloons released at the Homefront rally event today were made from a 100 percent organic product and are 100 percent biodegradable. The balloons have no history of causing any environmental pollution on land or in water. Although we're confident that there will be no harm to the environment, we've retained a cleanup crew to remove any potential lingering debris."

So the organic, biodegradable balloons were organic and biodegradable, and cleaned up, but despite THQ's apologies and appeasements, a representative from the California Department of Fish and Game, Patrick Foy, has alluded to the chance that THQ might still be prosecuted for breaking the California Fish and Game code 5652, which clearly states the act of littering balloons into the waters is a legal no-no, as doing so has been known to kill whales and turtles.

In slightly better news, THQ's Danny Bilson recently confirmed to Eurogamer that Homefront has become THQ's most pre-ordered title ever, with over 200,000 copies already earmarked for consumers.

The take-away from today's story? 99 Luftballons, Auf ihrem Weg zum Horizont. Hielt man für Ufos aus dem All...

[Source: GameSpot]

Mar 3, 2011

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32 comments

  • yasmarc - March 4, 2011 6:48 p.m.

    "San Francisco was a wiped off the map, having disappeared completely up it's own asshole." So 100% biodegradable balloons are going to harm stuff and they had a cleanup crew ready....SOUND THE ALARMS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Sharkbot - March 4, 2011 6:24 p.m.

    I hate Californians, too bitchy, too retarded, and too gay. On the other hand we got nice weather :D
  • HankVenture - March 4, 2011 2:48 p.m.

    O no, not ballons? There went the ecosystem
  • Scoob - March 4, 2011 8:17 a.m.

    Dumbasses. I knew when I was 6 or 7 years old that releasing helium balloons kills sea creatures thinking they are something else. They will bio-degrade inside an animal that chokes to death on plastic. Sounds pretty awesome.
  • super0sonic - March 4, 2011 7:30 a.m.

    99 Luftballons is a great song. And i really like this idea on paper. but in reality it's a bad idea
  • Averagegamer18 - March 4, 2011 6:02 a.m.

    Am I the only one who thinks that was cool and a great idea for those interested in Homefront? Like they said they were 100% environmental so it's cool
  • papergoon - March 4, 2011 4:38 a.m.

    I hate how these environmentalists don't do anything beneficial but create all sorts of problems for everyone. They don't do a fucking thing.
  • Aardvarkk - March 4, 2011 3:12 a.m.

    Seems to me THQ knew what they were doing. It reminds me of all the bad press CoD got about the airport scene (which went on to sell how many millions of copies.) If THQ thought ahead enough to buy biodegradable organic balloons then they already thought that the San Fran community would react negatively. Seems like a easy way for some free press.
  • EnragedTortoise1 - March 4, 2011 1:48 a.m.

    99... Red balloons... Floating in the summer sky.. Dammit, DDR.
  • OneEyedGoon - March 4, 2011 12:33 a.m.

    I think the entrie THQ staff should have taken a dump in the Bay. That'd be one hell of a publicity stunt.
  • Eliath - March 3, 2011 11:59 p.m.

    I second Robx's comment as they just beat me to it. ... you can't tell me Chris Antista is normal. I still love TDAR and the crazy articles though.
  • Robx - March 3, 2011 11:49 p.m.

    @GamesRadarMatthewKeast So he nailed it right? We all know GamesRadar's not normal. It's far better than those other crappy soulless gaming sites!
  • kyle94 - March 3, 2011 10:57 p.m.

    Is it just me, or does a ton of video game developers and publishers have bad marketing departments? When will they learn that maybe these big stupid marketing ploys aren't really very good? (I'm looking at you, EA.)
  • GamesRadarMatthewKeast - March 3, 2011 10:27 p.m.

    Did you know? GamesRadar is located in South San Francisco.
  • Turboash - March 3, 2011 10:19 p.m.

    Take THAT hippies!
  • d0x - March 3, 2011 10:15 p.m.

    Is it just me or does it seem like every single time a game company does a publicity stunt they get in trouble? We have dead goats, balloons, graffiti etc etc
  • KingQuestion - March 3, 2011 9:58 p.m.

    >San Francisco There is your problem. Those people are not normal.
  • e1337prodigy - March 3, 2011 9:42 p.m.

    theres an actual code for littering balloons. these people think of everything. maybe the 5652 relates to the amount of types of materials and items that can cause damage. 5650 is probably blue plastic bag. 5602 is probably green plastic bag.
  • FlikNightshade - March 3, 2011 9:42 p.m.

    People will bitch about anything
  • Kage_No_Shi - March 3, 2011 9:41 p.m.

    Well, that was an unfortunate stunt. Also, the balloons didn't stay aloft very long eh? I wonder if it was because they were made of silly '100 percent biodegradable material'? Stuff isn't known for its ability to properly contain materials...Very sad balloons, that even filled with helium they wouldn't stay in the air long. Also....What do balloons have to do with Homefront? They should have distributed waterguns or something XD Lastly, if Cracked.com is right, then hundreds of helium filled balloons would be worth more like tens of thousands of dollars oh noez! reCaptcha - econsug would....Would what? I MUST KNOW NOW!

Showing 1-20 of 32 comments

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