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UK Govt slams ‘irresponsible’ speed camera refund stunt
Acclaim jumps overboard. Again
Criterion’s PlayStation 2 release of Burnout 2: Point of Impact hits retail on October 11th, and publisher Acclaim said on Wednesday that it would refund the fines of any driver caught by speed cameras on that day, to mark the launch and give them a chance to go and spend their hard-earned on speeding in a painless environment.
This latest marketing stunt has been branded irresponsible and dangerous by the government. In a statement made yesterday, the government said that the campaign might lead to excessive speeding and dangerous driving by people who think they can get away with it.
"If they want to foot what is likely to be a hefty bill, that is their choice," a Department of Transport spokesman said. "But we cannot condone something that so obviously encourages people to break the law and do something dangerous."
The spokesman went on to offer a possible worst-case scenario. "Basically they are encouraging people to speed and to break the law. I just hope for their sakes that none of these people ends up knocking down a child," he said.
But Acclaim is pleading innocence, arguing that it only wanted to "ease the financial pain a bit," and that this is all in the name of promoting the game – which gives people a legitimate avenue to speed as fast as inhumanly possible. "Taking the side of people who enjoy driving fast, it therefore seemed quite logical to offer people caught by camera something that would make them feel Ok about it," spokesman Shaun White explained.
Acclaim's marketing stunts are legendary in the industry for their tastelessness and propensity for headline-grabbing controversy, but also for their originality. Recent examples include "deadvertising", which saw the publisher bidding for advertising space on tombstones in exchange for help with funeral costs, and "Identity Marketing", which saw the publisher buy the right to rename five gamers to "Turok" for a whole year by deed poll. Both stunts won priceless publicity for the games in question, even if Daily Mail readers were up in arms.