Activion kills Fidel, loots PR Holy Grail

Watching CNN last night (or was it the night before that), I was rather surprised to hear the anchor ask CNN’s Havana reporter about Call of Duty: Black Ops. I immediately tuned in…

Don’t worry, you haven’t missed anything. It seems that every media has the story covered: Cuba decries ‘Black Ops’ targeting Fidel Castro. According to Google News, there’s 830 other stories like this.

What struck me was the memory of a nearly identical report that CNN aired when Activsion released the previous game in the Call of Duty Franchise: Modern Warfare 2. Of course, they weren’t trying to kill Castro last time too. No, they invaded Moscow.

So one starts to wonder … Are Activision putting these episodes in hope they are picked up by the media? Or they go aggressively for coverage. It’s not inconceivable that this story was actually paid for by the game’s rumored $100 million-dollar budget (Source: AdAge).

Regardless, if you’re trying to market your indie game, there’s a lesson here. Either put Fidel in your game, or failing that, spend $100 million on advertising. Or follow Activision’s lead and do both.

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