Proving the fallacy of the adage "there's no such thing as bad publicity," 20 people were injured at a recent promotional event for the new LG G2 smartphone in Seoul.
According to the Korea Times, LG Electronics had what probably seemed like a great idea in meetings: Launch balloons in the air with coupons for 100 free smartphones attached, and then assemble a crowd of people to chase after the balloons. Whoever gets a balloon with a coupon gets a free phone.
Stronger marketing people would have realized this was a bad idea when people started showing up with BB guns and homemade spears -- made from knives attached to sticks -- to capture the balloons.
A Korean news report compares the event to the riot scene in the movie World War Z. It dubbed the LG event, "World War G." Watch this video of that report -- you can see one of the homemade spears at 1:25. It's a long spear, and it looks pointy. And that woman wielding it? She looks like she really, really wants that smartphone.
Says the Korea Times:
"Some were using BB guns to shoot the balloons. As far as I know, there were only some 20 security guards. LG should have placed more security personnel as the event was already promoted via social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and leading local portals. Some of the injured were hospitalized,” a blogger wrote.
This is what the riot looked like. Note the CEO of LG Electronics riding in to personally calm the crowd at 1:57:
LG plans to compensate the injured people, and provide proper medical treatment. Seven of the 20 injured were hospitalized. LG takes responsibility for the event. LG also canceled future promotions for the smartphone.
In America, we would have done it better. In America, everybody would have been drunk on beer. And used real guns.
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— Mitch Wagner , Editor in Chief, Internet Evolution