Following the tragic events in Woolwich the Blood Swimming Pool we had been working on for Capcom was cancelled (literally just as the first media walked through the gate) and it was absolutely the right thing to do though. I was interviewed by Phillipa Warr in some depth about this cancellation, and my approach on how to make shocking PR acceptable.
For example she asked how did the Wesker & Son human butchery get very few complaints and was hailed a huge success and yet the Dead Island Riptide torso collectible was universally hated (I personally think the failure of Dead Island Riptide stunt was that it was a tacky stunt which sexualised women in a really dated 80’s Sam-Fox-in-a-bikini way *shudder*).
How do you negotiate the line between what’s offensive or negative and what’s playful?
I believe it comes down to a creative approach more akin to an advertising agency than PR. We ensure a level of detail that heightens the experience and makes it much more than a PR stunt. We also look to create experiences that appeal to both male and female audiences – being a female creative director makes this instinctive.
What makes extreme PR stunts stand out and work is when there is a story being told, and gore is only used if it fits part of the narrative. If you look at Wesker & Son [a pop-up human butcher art installation also used by Capcom to promote Resident Evil] you’ll see that there was actually no blood involved for the final pop up shop and this was only featured for the murder scene press packs where it was highly relevant to the story.
You also need to be aware of potential issues before negative reactions start and take action. Wanting to have amputee butchers for example (we worked with the amazing Amputees In Action on this), we then also made the decision to donate all the money taken to the limbless society.