Pipe Job Dreams

Sometimes organizations find themselves in PR crises that can suddenly spring up and surround them without warning, and sometimes, these organizations set themselves up for failure and ridicule.

Take Hyundai for example. They recently had to pull an ad from youtube that depicted a man attempting to commit suicide in his car by attaching a hose to the car’s exhaust port and feeding it into the inside of the car.

This ad was meant to showcase the Hyundai ix35 with 100% water emissions, a notable achievement in going green. Unfortunately, this tasteless ad went viral after a copywriter from London made a blog post about her response as a person whose father committed suicide in much the same way when she was a child.

Her blog post prompted an outcry from the public as the demanded accountability for the content of the commercial.

After Hyundai got word of the blog and the angry following that it had incited, they apologized, stating, “Hyundai Motor deeply and sincerely apologizes for the offensive viral film. The film runs counter to our values as a company and as members of the community. We are very sorry for any offense or distress the video caused.”

When all of this has been said and done, I truly wonder whether or not Hyundai actually achieved its goal of spreading awareness of the product, and if they knew from the beginning the impact this commercial would have on consumers. 

No Nintendo at E3?

Well…not exactly. But talk about big news! Nintendo recently announced they would not be hosting a press conference at the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo this year.

For those of you who don’t know, E3 is sort of a video game conference that is held every year at the Los Angeles Convention Center. This event is typically when most game companies make huge announcements about new games and hardware coming in the next few years.

At these shows, there is typically a press conference for big name developers in which they showcase these new products for a large audience both in person and online. There press conferences serve as the main type of method to reach out to consumers.

Nintendo announced yesterday that they would not be holding a press conference at E3 this year, but rather they will release information throughout the year leading up to the event regarding new products. Nintendo also said that although there is no conference, they will still be attending the show and to expect them to have booths set up for the public to try new games.

This move came as a bit of a surprise to me, although maybe I should have expected it. In the past few years, the E3 conferences have been noted for their less than stellar offerings, and even a few people suggest that nobody “wins” E3 anymore, because nothing is ever new or surprising.

While Nintendo is known for their big risk moves and breaking the mold, only time will tell if this move will actually pay off.  I for one am excited to see how Nintendo will play out this bold move.

Oh…and by the way…where is my next Super Smash Bros.?

Aside

Kickstarter: It’s a Pretty Big Deal

We have all heard of Kickstarter…right? It’s the website that allows developers of almost any type of product to showcase their dream to the public in an attempt to receive funding in order to complete the project.

This website works by requiring the developer to set a length (usually 30 days) of time in which the project can receive funding, and then has a countdown to that date, and gives users the ability to create a page with which all sorts of media can be shown to promote the product.

I think it should be noted that Kickstarter gained popularity primarily through successful video projects such as Minecraft.

On March 26, Dynamo PR created a new division of the the company dedicated to helping Kickstarter projects find success in their pitches. This decision came after the company’s work with the 3Doodler, a pen that allows 3D drawing in nearly any environment.

To help understand their rationale, account manager Heather Delaney explained: ‘The internet has changed the game for fundraising. Now entrepreneurs and creative people like MiiPC can use crowd funding to test the market for their idea and help make it a reality. 

‘But these people need dedicated Kickstarter PR to guide them every step of the way and social media support to truly gain momentum. I’m excited to be heading up a team focused on Kickstarter PR, looking at this awesome new area of making these innovative ideas and inventions become a reality.’

With recent projects like the Veronica Mars movie, there can be no doubt that Kickstarter has solidified its place as a valid method of conducting business.

It will be interesting to find where Kickstarter will go in the future, and it is great to see all of the new inventions that would have otherwise been impossible to produce get developed for consumers. 

Bioshock Infinite PR #4

         Welcome to the last blog on Bioshock Infinite! For real this time… So far on our journey we have been through multiple losses from the development team, multiple delays for the game and even multiple outcries’ from the fans (but really, who is surprised?). Let us finish this journey together and close the book on Irrational Games’ PR.

            On December 2, 2012, Irrational Games hired Anna “Ormeli” Moleva to cosplay (dress up as a fictional character) for promotions and special events for Bioshock Infinite. Levine made the announcement by stating “We were so amazed by her dedication and her resemblance to Elizabeth that we decided to ask her if she’d like to be involved in helping bring Elizabeth to life in our box, our key art and our upcoming television ad.”

            Moleva would eventually attend gaming events along with the Irattional crew to showcase the game and take picture and sign autographs with fans.

            Then came the bad news.

            Five days after the announcement of their new cosplayer, Irrational Games announced that Bioshock Infinite was to be delayed yet again. The game was being pushed back to March 26, 2013. Ken Levine followed up the announcement by telling IGN “It’s primarily polish and bug fixing. “You know, ‘let’s make that narrative scene that much better. Let’s do another pass on the timing of that scene. Let’s do another balance pass.’ It’s a game we could have shipped in February. It just wouldn’t be the game that we think the fans deserve. And that doesn’t mean it was far off from that, but they deserve what they deserve. And when we ask people to pony up a lot of money for this game, we have to feel confident that we’re giving them something that they deserve.”

            Ken Levine also stated that while he knew he would suffer some “slings and arrows” for the decision, they would be only temporary but the game would last forever.

            And there we have it! We have finished the major PR activities that took place solely during the development process of Bioshock Infinite. Thank you for joining me on this journey, and I hope you learned as much during this process as I did!

Bioshock Infinite PR #3

Finally…the last blog over Bioshock Infinite PR. After controversy over the chest size of the main female protagonist, the announcement of delaying the game and even claims that the game is fundamentally un-American. Join me as we seal the deal on Bioshock Infinite and its release just a few days ago.

            After the advent of a delay, the developers at Irrational Studios were undoubtedly feeling the pressure to release a quality game on time. Unfortunately for Irrational, there would be no rest for them. On August 8, 2012, two developers working on Bioshock Infinite team left and were promptly replaced by veterans of the series who had worked on the original Bioshock.

            Creative Director Ken Levine commented on the matter via his twitter, stating “Scott Sinclair, art director of Bio1, back in the art director’s chair for Infinite to bring it home. Can’t wait to show you what’s cooking.”

            The day following the announcement, another announcement was made that a developer from Epic Games, the developer behind Gears of War, was moving the join the Irrational crew. In addition to the news, it was announced that two modes that offered multiplayer were cut from the game. This news was received almost as a blessing to the fans of the games because the multiplayer from the last Bioshock game was not well received.

            After a couple of months of standard activity within the office, more bad news was discovered within Irrational. On October 15, 2012, two more developers were cited as having left Irrational. This additional set of high-profile departures gave even more cause for fans of the series to grow hesitant of the release of the game. Unfortunately, when Irrational was reached out to shed some light on the event, they only responded with “no comment,” which we all know is just about the worst thing you can say in any situation.

            Unfortunately, it is time to close up the blog. While this may seem like a bit of an awkward ending…that’s because it is. With that being said, let it be noted that this will actually not be the last blog about Bioshock Infinite! I have realized that there is quite a bit more to go over, and hopefully we can cover all the material left over in just one more segment. Join me next week as we go over the new face for Bioshock Infinite, and what it feels like delaying a game a second time!

Bioshock Infinite PR #2

          In the last blog, we had sort of an introduction to Irrational Games and their ambitious lengthy project “Bioshock Infinite.”  In this week’s segment we will cover two crucial events that took place in the pre-release of the game.

            After the first trailer was released for the game, their came a growing outcry from the community that highlighted the focus of the female, Elizabeth, and the amount of attention that was given to the size of her breasts. Creative Director Ken Levine leaves this comment to respond to the community, “In terms of her body type, I think certainly people on the Internet have spent way more time thinking about Elizabeth’s chest than I have. It’s something I’ve barely thought about. “We sort of evolved her over time, and that’s the challenge when you show stuff early on – you’re still in the creative process and you’re still evolving the creative process. I’m sure Elizabeth may evolve a little bit more over time because until it’s out, I haven’t made the definitive statement on it… so I certainly don’t spend as much time thinking about this issue as the Internet does, and I’m not sure what that says about the Internet but, you know.”

            As time has moved on, it is very apparent that Elizabeth’s character design has changed very much such its original appearance in the trailer, and some speculate that this is largely to do with the communities’ outcry (which Levine denies).

            While this isn’t directly related to company driven PR, I feel it is worth mentioning that Ken Levine was nominated on Time’s “100 most influential people of 2012.”

            On May 9, 2012, Ken Levine announced that Bioshock Infinite (which was a game that was already announced extremely early in its production) would be delayed from October 16, 2012 to February 26, 2013. Levine then announced that they were basically not planning on releasing any additional information on the game until right before its release.

            This decision was met with some very mixed emotions from the fans of the series. While there were some fans who understood that a hard decision had to be made, many were upset and cited that the company did the exact same thing with the first Bioshock. Levine swiftly attempted to deal with the warmongering by stating that the reason Bioshock was great in the first place was because they took that extra time to take care of it and polish it up.

            Regardless of the criticism, Bioshock Infinite has endured and has already received its first review of a 9.5 on PC from ign.com. Keep tuned in text week as we talk about the woes of Irrational as they lose developers and delay the game even further.

Bioshock Infinite PR

As one of this year’s most anticipated games (if not THE anticipated game of the year) Bioshock Infinite has come extremely far from its origins in the past three years and Irrational Games responded to customer feedback in order to cater this game to its most loyal audience. In this blog, we take a look back at the beginning of Bioshock Infinite and look to see some of the steps it has taken to get to where it is today.

When the game was announced on August 11, 2010, the world was aghast as they learned that the new Bioshock game wouldn’t take place in the infamous underwater city of Rapture, but rather a floating city in sky named Columbia.  Ken Levine, the creative director of the game, offered up some time to do a Q&A about why he had made the decision to completely change the formula for this hotly anticipated sequel. Out of this interview arose a joking, yet almost serious question about why Ken Levine why he hates America. Levine deftly handled the question by stating that he was always interested in America at the turn of the century, and enjoyed to convey some of that exceptionalism, even though it portrays America in a bad light.

Although just the tip of the iceberg in terms of PR from Irrational Games, we have to cut today’s blog short, but be sure to join us next time for the second part of Bioshock Infinite PR spotlight, and don’t forget to reserve your copy of the game before it is released on March 26, 2013!