A four year old Resident Evil PR stunt has resurfaced in China – and sparked rumours which prompted an official Government denial to be released.
The rumours began to spread when a now-deleted Facebook post accused China of exporting canned human meat to African supermarkets. The post was illustrated with a gory image of a human body which had originally been used on the gaming website Eurogamer. The website had been reporting on a 2012 promotional stunt for Resident Evil 6, where the game’s producers Capcom had set up a ‘fake human meat market in East London‘ (WARNING: GORY IMAGES). The market offered meat shaped into human parts for purchase and consumption, including the “body” photographed by Eurogamer.
Fast forward to four years later, and the Facebook post with the “body” photograph was published and picked up by various news sources in South Africa. The original post has since been deleted, but is archived here (WARNING: GORY IMAGES). In it, the Facebook user accused the Chinese manufacturers of “producing corned beef with their dead bodies and sending them to Africa.”
The rumours gained so much steam in the press that the Chinese Government issued an official statement: “Today a local tabloid newspaper is openly spreading a rumour, claiming that the Chinese use human meat to make corned beef and sell it to Africa. This is completely a malicious slandering and vilification which is absolutely unacceptable to us. We hereby express our utmost anger and the strongest condemnation over such an act.”
Zambia’s Government have also responded to the story with an official investigation and statement by the Deputy Defence Minister Christopher Mulenga: “The government of Zambia regrets the incident in view of the warm relations that exist between Zambia and China. We shall make sure that relevant government authorities will take up the investigations and give a comprehensive statement.”
Gaming websites have responded with shock and amusement. Marketers take note: sometimes your old campaigns can turn up in unexpected places.