Video game giant Electronic Arts has admitted it funded a group of fake protesters who pretended to be Christians as a publicity stunt to spur interest in its upcoming action game very loosely based on Dante’s “Inferno.”
The game company hired a group of almost 20 people to stand outside the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles on Wednesday, the Associated Press says. The phony protesters passed out amateurish material and held signs bearing slogans such as “Trade in Your PlayStation for a PrayStation,” “Hell is not a Game” and “EA = Electronic Anti-Christ.”
Holly Rockwood, an EA spokeswoman, said the charade was arranged by a viral marketing agency hired by the company.
A web page in the crude style of 1990s web design was also created in connection with the stunt. It depicted crosses crushing the word “sin” and placed images of the King James Bible among phony condemnations and thinly-veiled promotions of the game.
This sort of publicity stunt is likely to be more and more common as time goes on. Outrage, or just someone playing on your prejudice and accepted stereotypes to sway your opinion? There will be times that it will become difficult to tell.