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Automakers and car dealerships have used the old "Free Gas" promotion to good effect, so it's not surprising that companies outside the industry might try it, too. Electronic Arts gave it a go recently to promote its new Mercenaries 2 video game in the UK by taking over a gas station in North London and giving away £20,000 ($35,000) worth of free gas. The free fuel was pumped by actors wearing military garb (with bandoliers!) in £40 increments to any who drove up. While those receiving the priceless petrol were thrilled, area residents and motorists just trying to drive by called the PR stunt "irresponsible and dangerous". Locals had their driveways blocked for hours and were forced to listen to a symphony of horns from exasperated drivers trying to negotiate the giant queue of cars. Beginning at 6:30 in the morning, the promo was supposed to go on until all £20,000 worth of gas had been pumped, but authorities shut it down just four hours later. While EA may have peeved the locals, news of its blunder has spread across the web like wildfire and given Mercs 2 more free exposure than it would've gotten otherwise.

[Source: BBC via Joystiq]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Do you think we've become people who are greedy and shallow? Gas prices and the economy seem to rule us. Why else would you put yourself thru sitting in line for four hours to get gas. Silly robots.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Too bad Mercs 2 sucked.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Around here, stations have done similar things. I haven't seen any free gas, but dropping the price $0.20-0.30 has similar results. I thought about waiting in line, but I decided that my time was worth more than waiting hours to save roughly five bucks on a ~$40 fill up. Free gas? Maybe, but only if the line is less than about 90 min long.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Same thing happened here, they were selling cheap gas to celebrate a new Canadian Tire, the cops closed it down by noon.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Faulty math. How is paying £20,000 ($35,000) worth of gas, FREE exposure or publicity?
      • 6 Years Ago
      They need more room in that area. Cramped housing and narrow streets.

      Looks like a good promotion on the surface. Love the prepared-look with proper defensive accoutrements. :)
      • 6 Years Ago
      "Dangerous"? A stationary queue of cars is dangerous? They complain when you drive too fast, now they complain when your not even moving?
      • 6 Years Ago
      People, in general, are morons. There was a local gas station here who started selling gas for $1.99 at 6am in the morning and the "sale" lasted until like 10am. People started lining up at midnight and were sleeping in their cars to save less than $2 a gallon. I wonder how many of them did the math to see that they were really only saving themselves around $30 total!! Idiots! Sleep all night in your car just to save $30!!!! Laughable.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Thats awesome, Mercs 2 rules
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