A PR stunt for a new video game saw the bomb squad called to Ninemsn’s offices yesterday afternoon after a black safe was delivered to the Australia Square offices of the publisher along with a “suspicious” letter which told a reporter to “check your voicemail”.
However, the reporter did not have a voicemail, and when staff tried to enter a pin code taped to the top of the safe, which was dropped off by a courier but not signed for, it started to beep but did not open, leading to fears it could be an explosive device.
Mi9 staff on the sixth floor of the George Street offices were sent home, and bomb squad officers called in to open the box in the basement of the building. Inside was a copy of new Ubisoft video game Watch Dogs alongside a baseball cap and beanie, and a note saying it was embargoed until 5pm.
Ninemsn editor Hal Crawford told Mumbrella: “This is definitely the other side of the line in terms of what it’s safe for a PR company to send anonymously to a newsroom. The thing was black, heavy and slightly creepy.
“We did check with other newsrooms to see if they had received a similar package as we thought it was a PR stunt, but no-one else had. We weren’t panicked at any point, but given there was no note explaining what it was, we had to take sensible precautions.”
Ubisoft has not responded to Mumbrella’s repeated requests for comment today, and it is unclear whether the package was sent by the internal PR team, or an agency acting on their behalf.
Ninemsn does not cover video games.