South Korean electronics manufacturer LG has been forced to re-think its domestic marketing strategy after 20 people were injured during a public relations stunt promoting the company’s new G2 smartphone.
The outdoor event, hosted in Seoul and dubbed “G in the Cloud,” involved a large balloon sculpture in the shape of a “G.” Organizers attached coupons for free LG G2 handsets to 100 of the helium-filled balloons.
“The idea was to allow some random lucky people to find helium-depleted balloons with the vouchers all over the area, though some folks proved to be too impatient and competitive to allow that to happen,” stated Phandroid.
After event planners released the balloons, the crowd of roughly 500 people surged forward. Many were armed with BB guns, intent on shooting the balloons down before they floated away. Photos and video even show one enterprising woman carrying a long spear-like object with a sharpened tip, though it remains unclear if this was the cause of any of the injuries.
Some criticized LG for having an under-staffed security detail. “As far as I know, there were only some 20 security guards,” wrote one Korean blogger. “LG should have placed more security personnel, as the event was already promoted via social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and leading local portals. Some of the injured were hospitalized.”
LG has cancelled all future G2 giveaway events in South Korea. The electronics maker also promised to compensate those who sustained injury in the Seoul fiasco.
The G2, seen for the first time at a press event in New York City last week, is the latest flagship handset from LG. It will be available at major cellular carriers in the coming months with a hefty retail price of 950,000 won ($852) – a likely reason for the frenzied attempts to snag a freebie.
Many tech enthusiasts are excited about the G2, which will include the powerful Snapdragon 800 processor from Qualcomm. The device’s 5.2-inch display puts it in the realm of “phablets” – supersized smartphones that fit somewhere between a traditional handset and a tablet. The G2 also made headlines for its unique button placement, opting for the back of the device instead of the top or sides – a move that LG claims is more ergonomic.