Remember the Time Capcom did a Body Part Scavenger Hunt?
I previously talked about the absolutely disastrous marketing stunt that Acclaim pulled where they wanted to use headstones to advertise Shadowman 2. In that same vein, I wanted to make sure that other companies with absolutely bonkers advertising weren’t left out. Today, I want to talk about the time Capcom dropped realistic-looking fake body parts all over Trafalgar Square.
The infected have been and gone – but they have left behind the bloodied remains of their victims. Find the bodies on the morning of Thursday March 12th and win a holiday to Africa.Capcom
Let me tell you something: This is not a good idea. Realistic bloody body parts left around Trafalgar Square, a public square. That means it’s completely open to the public. According to my friend Wikipedia, Trafalgar Square is visited by 15 million tourists a year. It’s insane to think that all of them would know what a Resident Evil is. Undeterred, the maniacs at Monument PR dumped a number of torsos, arms, legs, heads, and chicken livers, for added gore, all over the place. Each part was assigned a point total, and after collecting as many as you could carry, you were to report to Westminster Bridge.
Alert us to your presence by standing on the bridge, holding the artificial body parts over your head and shouting ‘Kijuju!’. We will be there, watching you, and will approach when you make yourselves known.
Points allocated for each body part – 2 points for arms, 2 points for legs, 3 points for torsos , 5 points for a head. The more body parts you find and bring to us, the more points you get. The player(s) with the most points by 11am win the holiday to Africa.Capcom
Imagine it: Throngs of hardcore Resident Evil fans – You’d have to be pretty hardcore to participate in this madness – all standing in a group on Westminster Bridge, holding aloft sticky, bloody, realistic body parts and screaming “kijuju” at the top of their lungs. Are you sufficiently terrified? Fantastic. As you could guess, things began to go sideways. The mass of contestants on the bridge screaming in a seemingly-foreign language spooked the people of London. Calls were made to the police, who showed up and dispersed the crowd.
the stunt had already taken a turn for the worse when horrified passers-by complained to police. Officers were called to the finishing line, and organizers moved on, although no charges were made.Ben Bold March 12, 2009
After the crowd was run off of Westminster Bridge, things seemed to be dying down. There was another problem. One head, two torsos, and six limbs were never found, along with some of those delicious chicken livers. The chicken livers are easily explained away: wild animals. You think a London rat wouldn’t eat a chicken liver? Get outta here. That just left all of those unaccounted for body parts. Some said that Monument PR was just having a laugh, adding a bit of free PR at the expense of spooking some Londoners with the thought of realistic body parts being lost around the city. Capcom was quick to correct everyone by putting out a fairly panicked-sounding statement.
“The body parts are very realistic and we don’t want people to be alarmed by them. They’ve all been taken from their original positions, but we now have no idea where they are. If you have them, please either return them, or dispose of them in a responsible and careful manner. In addition, chicken livers were used for added gore, and, uncooked, they can be dangerous.”Capcom
I like that they implied that, if you stole the chicken livers, at least cook them before consumption…for safety’s sake. To my understanding, and through my research, I’ve not found any instance of the lost body parts being found. The way the news works these days is that after the initial shocking headline, you almost never get a follow-up. I’ve reached out to Monument PR, but I figure they don’t want to talk about this situation. If any of the body parts did show up, it probably caused a momentary scare. Of course, there’s always the possibility of weirdos finding them and squirreling them away for the construction of some strange shrine, I’m sure that any found by the good people of London were either reported to the police or thrown in the trash with a chuckle and a shake of the head before they settled in for a free chicken liver dinner.
Video game PR companies are some of the best companies, in my experience. I’ve gotten very cool PR packages from some of them. I don’t think I’d ever go on a scavenger hunt to find them, though. I did receive a realistic-looking severed hand in the mail as a promotion for Dread Hunger once. That’s fine. It’s not like they left it somewhere outside my house and hoped that I would discover it before my neighbors gave themselves a heart attack while mowing the lawn. I said it before, but there has to be a way to do these things without creating a public nuisance/panic. As soon as I figure that out, I’ll hide the solution in a public place and hope a PR company stumbles onto it. Oh, and just for the curious:
The competition was won by Steve Long, a 26 year-old IT consultant, who was awarded a prize of a holiday for two to Africa (where ‘Resident Evil 5’ is set).CampaignLive UK