Resident Evil has always been synonymous with gore and violence, so when it came time to promote the fifth edition, Capcom turned to Monument PR to put together a treasure hunt with a difference: A hunt for dismembered body parts on the streets of London.
Interested participants were asked to email a special email address, which would then reply with clues to the locations of the limbs in their hidden locations in Trafalgar Square. Those who discovered a body part were asked to hold it aloft on Westminster Bridge and shout “Kijuju!” in order to cash in points, and the person with the most points was awarded a holiday to Africa (the game is set in a fictional city in Africa called Kijuju).
It’s certainly one way to attract attention, and has a strong thematic link with the game franchise and its brutal version of zombie horror. Hundreds of fans participated, making the event a success, but it also attracted controversy. On-lookers who lacked the context of the marketing stunt called the police, and it later transpired that the organisers had lost a head, two torsos and six dismembered limbs.
"The body parts are very realistic and we don't want people to be alarmed by them. They've all been taken from their original positions, but we now have no idea where they are. If you have them, please either return them, or dispose of them in a responsible and careful manner"
Monument PR have also insisted that the loss of the body parts was not a publicity-seeking stunt in itself, but a genuine accident. Either way, it generated a lot of press coverage for the game. Steve Long, a 26-year-old IT consultant, won the trip for two to Africa. It is unknown whether he kept any of the unrecovered body parts as a memento.