Police, free petrol and gangsterettes used in marketing stunt for new video game

Police were called to manage traffic around a marketing stunt in Sydney that saw girls in skin-tight purple pants dispensing $10,000 of free petrol yesterday.

The stunt, devised by Magnum PR, was launched to promote a new computer game, Saints Row: The Third, made by gaming company THQ.

The stunt ran from 6am until 9am at the BP petrol station on Cleveland Street in Redfern.

Two police cars and four policemen were used to handle traffic. The PR agency confirmed that police were not paid for their efforts.

The stunt was covered by Today Tonight, Sunrise and Seven News. Magnum PR estimated that it had amassed $350,000 in media exposure, not including print and online coverage.


  1. Sexpolicing
    4 Nov 11
    5:07 pm

  2. I think we know what Melinda Tankard Reist thinks of this one.

    Regarding the comment about the police: Clearly I’m missing something, it looks like the press release says that the police weren’t paid. But why is that a good thing that the tax payer pays for the policing of this stunt? Are you suggesting that the police weren’t bribed this time? Are they normally?

    PS the choice of skin-tight purple is inspired!

  3. Sinner
    4 Nov 11
    6:31 pm

  4. Boy, those girls gave good hose!

  5. Ann
    4 Nov 11
    6:44 pm

  6. It worked, got good TV coverage as well

  7. K
    5 Nov 11
    6:23 pm

  8. How can you say it worked? TV coverage doesn’t mean they’ll sell the games. I’m struggling to see the connection or its relevance to gamers.

  9. Really...
    6 Nov 11
    9:24 pm

  10. @K

    This is clearly why you don’t work in marketing. Leave it to the professionals from now on, k?

  11. P
    7 Nov 11
    12:05 am

  12. @K,
    Cars. Women. Sexy. I think it’s pretty relevant to the game itself, which in turn makes it relevant to gamers. If you had any shred of knowledge on the game instead of some feminist grudge against corporations, you’d know this too.

  13. K
    7 Nov 11
    9:54 am

  14. Cool, I love to see the results if you guys are so confident. Also any links to online chat from gamers regarding these stunts

  15. K
    7 Nov 11
    10:17 am

  16. Oh and gamers just love watching Seven News, Sunrise and Today Tonight :)

  17. R
    7 Nov 11
    11:41 am

  18. @K

    the pr stunt in this case isnt so much to lure in gamers, as gamers in general already know and have their own opinions on the saints row series. the purpose of the stunt is to get people outside the gaming community aware of the series and its titles (and of course the upcoming release), and in this way it was very effective. if you question their methods you should look into the game first, because the saints row series is all about over the top displays of just about anything, so in this case dressing up some ladies and giving out petrol got that message across in a way that wasnt offensive and has likely made some people stop and think “i wonder what this saints row deal is, ill have to check it out”. and if even one person had that thought then its a success.

  19. N
    7 Nov 11
    11:51 am

  20. @K

    I think the point is to spread awareness to people who may not have known about the game already. I’m pretty sure that’s what PR, advertising and marketing is ment to do isn’t it?

    Did you know about the game before it was posted on here? I’m guessing the stunt worked pretty well then.

  21. Stacey
    7 Nov 11
    12:15 pm

  22. @K

    Why wouldn’t gamers watch these shows? Just because they’re a “gamer” doesn’t mean they don’t have other interests..

    And considering the average gamer is in their late 20’s I don’t see why they wouldn’t watch the news.

    You clearly don’t know anything about the game or the target market

  23. D
    7 Nov 11
    12:34 pm

  24. I’m finding it hard to keep a straight face at all the *marketing experts* in here claiming a 3 hour, $10,000 stunt is ‘very effective’. You people seem to be drinking your own kool-aid too much. A slot on Today Tonight and a couple of ogling motorists isn’t going to create any long term brand strengthening and it won’t bring in short term product sales anywhere near the cost. So basically, a waste of time and money except for those turning a story by reporting it. God forbid anyone pays you lot to do their marketing.

  25. K
    7 Nov 11
    1:05 pm

  26. Like I said any links to online discussion from the target market about this would be appreciated because by the looks of it marketing people and stay at home mums are the only ones exposed to this ‘stunt’.
    And knowing about the game isn’t the same as having a reason to buy it.

    But you lot are the marketing ‘experts’.

  27. Rob
    7 Nov 11
    1:30 pm

  28. hey Tim, what about an IP address check on all the non-K letters of the alphabet jumping in to offer some suspect “unbiased opinions”

  29. Stacey
    7 Nov 11
    2:21 pm

  30. I don’t believe the objective of the stunt would have been to get gamers talking about it online.

    I’m not saying that this stunt is or isn’t effective, more that you should do a little research yourself before making assumptions about it’s relevance and target market.

  31. Heather Murphy
    7 Nov 11
    2:22 pm

  32. Interesting. Would love to see what coverage this stunt did actually achieve, what key messages came out about the game (if any) due to the reporting of this stunt.

  33. parala
    7 Nov 11
    2:36 pm

  34. Saints Row 3 faces a couple of unique communications challenges that make this a reasonable approach.

    Firstly the content of the game is pretty graphic which doesn’t lend itself well to some, more literal, public activations. For example, the Saints Row promo video released last week featured an assailant hitting pedestrians using a giant purple dildo. Can’t imagine this would go down well in Martin Place.

    The second is the target audience isn’t who you think it is. Saints Row 3 and related games such as GTA are aimed at a slightly order demographic – typically men in their mid-20s like university students. Actually this is pretty true for most games (try searching for the annual Australian gaming industry survey) but even more so for games that include giant purple dildos.

    The challenge with this audience is that Saints Row is being launched during an unprecedented period of blockbuster releases. Gamers have never seen so many Triple-A titles launched in such a limited period of time, with more than a dozen realistically competing for game of the year.

    Obviously competition just to get noticed during the past few months has been fierce and it would be fair to say for most people Saints Row 3 hasn’t really been on the radar. The franchise could be realistically described as moderately successful without a really dedicated following.

    Coincidentally, guys in their 20s that love their games are also the same demographic that loves their cars. They also tend to be more strapped for cash as they work their way through university or entry level jobs. It’s reasonable to assume the offer of free fuel would pike their interest.

    I looked at the Today Tonight coverage and, from a gamer’s perspective, it was good. You got to see a lot of in-game footage, the story was controversial and you found out that the game was about to be released.

    It probably won’t be enough to necessarily sway you into purchasing it, but you might at least take a look at it before committing to another purchase.

    Will this PR stunt alone sell games? No idea. However I did get to write “giant purple dildos”. Twice.

  35. Beau Ushay
    7 Nov 11
    5:36 pm

  36. @parala You can find the iGEA industry report here http://www.igea.net/2011/09/la.....ew-gamers/

    Video games are the number one leisure activity for males under 35

  37. Jon
    7 Nov 11
    6:14 pm

  38. The game was actually made (developed) by Volition, Inc. THQ is the Publisher

  39. Merus
    7 Nov 11
    6:44 pm

  40. Yeah, this is an agency that’s only done the basic level of research on their product.

    The game, Saints Row The Third, is essentially a more anarchic cousin of Grand Theft Auto; the agency likely saw that and decided to work on the public perception of these sandbox games as gangsta simulators.

    Funny thing, though; the game’s prequel was very careful about avoiding the misogyny common to gangsta media, and the new game had been positioning itself during development as gleefully manic mayhem. The release marketing is very much drawing from the gangsta aesthetic, but the pre-release marketing was promising skydiving with a tank and equally silly shenanigans, and the game is only on gamers’ radars for that reason.

    The franchise started off as a knock-off of Grand Theft Auto, but found its feet when the second game focused on the stories gamers would tell about the mayhem they caused in GTA. It feels like the marketing department never got the memo for what the franchise’s positioning is.

  41. Anon
    8 Nov 11
    1:10 am

  42. Note to the astroturfer/s – your defensive and immature comments are really obvious. How long have you actually been working for Magnum PR? My guess is less than 6 months (which makes you easy to identify)

  43. Ok- the clown formally known as k.
    8 Nov 11
    8:50 am

  44. So the people who are likely to buy the game didn’t see nor hear about it.

    And they’re not sure if they will. Ok.

  45. David Dyer
    20 Nov 11
    11:44 pm

  46. I have an idea for another Saints Row The Third marketing stunt: convince the commerical networks to make a local Australian version of Professor Genki’s Super Ethical Reality Climax! Oh and the contestants could be celebrities.

    PS. Which commerical network would be best suited for PGSERC Australia? Or should we let a Foxtel station do it?