MP slams EA for irresponsible PR

Finsbury Park, last week
Finsbury Park, last week

You may remember that Electronic Arts took over the Last Stop garage in Finsbury Park last Friday, in a headline-grasping PR stunt, giving away £20,000 worth of free fuel to 'launch' the game Mercenaries 2: World In Flames.

EA turned the innocent North London petrol station into something resembling a warzone, dressed in full military camouflage with an army jeep on the forecourt and assistants dressed as soldiers with replica machine guns. Local residents were, unsurprisingly, said to be be 'alarmed and dismayed' at the stunt.

As PR stunts go, whether you think it irresponsible, misjudged or plain genius (as most PRs we spoke to seemed to think) it achieved one thing – it got EA in the news.

Whether or not those headlines will somehow translate into actual sales of the game is, of course, another thing entirely…

Police and local MP unhappy

The Met were not entirely happy with the computer games' publishers antics and an EA spokesperson told TechRadar at the time : "From an environmental point of view it might be irresponsible, but it's not for us to get bogged down in it all – it's just meant as a goodwill thing."

Now that the dust has (almost literally) settled, local MP Lynne Featherstone, Liberal Democrat MP for Hornsey and Wood Green has slammed EA's PR team, telling The Associated Press:

"Trying to recreate Venezuelan-style fuel riots on the streets of London is completely irresponsible and downright dangerous.

"Whilst a lucky few might have got some free petrol, hundreds of local residents have faced misery on their daily journeys this morning. They deserve an apology for being the victims of such an ill-thought out media stunt."

Adam Hartley