Earlier today, we received an email with the title "iPhone 5 PR Stunt Ends in Disaster Leaving 21 Homeless." You won't see any spoilers from me - just read:

iPhone 5 PR Stunt Ends in Disaster Leaving 21 Homeless


September 26th, 2012, San Francisco, in a series of "stunts" to gain public attention for a new Apple iPhone 5 and iPad game launch, a startup went overboard causing massive property damage.

At 7:00 am, a crew drove 3 cranes, equipped with 1.5 ton wrecking balls, to a mid-city housing complex. The wrecking balls were painted to look like roundish flying Yumbies, adorable characters who smash through buildings and other structures in the game.

"It sounded like a clever idea," stated Steve Hoffman, the CEO of Playgearz, the company that created the Yumbies. "But there was trouble with the execution."

With a cheering audience, the cranes arrived at a supposedly abandoned housing complex in South San Francisco. Amidst the fanfare, they proceeded to carry out a demolition in the style of their game.

A bystander reported: "Things began to look odd when a couple inside the building started yelling for help and waving white t-shirts."


A second bystander saw residents crowding fire escapes on the side of the building. Within 2 minutes, there were 237 phone calls made to 9-11.

"We couldn't get their attention in the cranes," said a neighborhood security guard. "Most of them were listening to heavy metal music while operating the machinery. Giant painted wrecking balls were swinging everywhere."

Firemen reported that two thirds of the building was demolished in the failed stunt, causing an estimated $9 million in damages.

Tork, the Yumby foreman in charge, is quoted as having said, "They told us the building was condemned."

A woman who was inside the building during the demolition told reporters, "I thought it was the beginning of the end… What are Yumbies? I don't understand why this happened."

Court hearings have been scheduled for early December. All Yumbies are being held without bail until the trial, while the San Francisco district attorney looks into whether game characters can be prosecuted.

About PlayGearz


PlayGearz is a mobile games studio located in San Francisco, California. PlayGearz develops and publishes apps and games for Apple's (AAPL) iPhone & iPad on iOS 6, as well as Google's (GOOG) Android, Amazon's (AMZN) Kindle Fire, Facebook (FB), and Barnes & Noble (BKS) Nook. If you haven't guessed already, the Yumbies are fictional characters who inhabit the PlayGearz games. Although they enjoy smashing things, it typically doesn't cause physical damage or add to San Francisco's housing problems.

For more information, please contact: [email protected]. Or visit us at: http://www.yumby.com

This is the first PR I can think of that goes on to paint a picture of a $9mln disaster in the very city I live in and blame the very company that's so cleverly sending the email in the first place, before subtly revealing its real nature. PlayGearz had me going pretty much until the end - I didn't look at the [email protected] email, and the big PRESS RELEASE header didn't load thanks to Gmail being cautious.

Best. Press release. Ever. It's a breath of fresh air compared to the hundreds of boring PRs we see each day. Bravo, PlayGearz. Now, where are those games you're talking about? They're not here. Or here. Great PR stunt - you've got our attention, but it'd help if there was something for us to look at.

P.S. I lied - this is not the best email to ever hit our inbox, but rather the best press release email. Omitting that little detail was the only way to make sure we don't spoil the ending for you.

Artem Russakovskii
Artem is a die-hard Android fan, passionate tech blogger, obsessive-compulsive editor, bug hunting programmer, and the founder of Android Police.
Most of the time, you will find Artem either hacking away at code or thinking of the next 15 blog posts.

  • Kenny O

    "I thought it was the beginning of the end… What are Yumbies? I don't understand why this happened." This was my favorite line.....

  • Usama Ahmad

    Well done, AndroidPolice. And yes, that's a well done PR.

  • http://filmitnow.moonfruit.com/ Brandon Wood

    LOL. I seriously thought this was real until the end. Love it xD

  • Outrager

    They could have at least photoshopped "The wrecking balls were painted to look like roundish flying Yumbies" onto those pictures.

  • banjoonmyknee

    I can't wait until this hits the mainstream press and gets reported as a real thing.

    • LiamBryant

      Its only a matter of time before the execs at Fox News get this email, read halfway through and then run a story on how internet and mobile gaming is causing irreparable harm to our country.

      • FOX news

        You have that wrong,it will be MSNBC and they will spend all day on how it relates to Romney tax returns.

        • fixxmyhead

          hahaha everything always leads back to romneys tax returns

      • leoingle

        Wow. That was stupid. Way to take a totally un political story and apply towards your political agenda. And kids sitting around all day on their associated and playing games is a problem.

        • LiamBryant

          I don't know about you but I have no "political agenda," I consider myself conservative but does that mean I can't poke fun at the shortcomings of a news network? It's a joke, relax it's no secret that Fox has missed the mark on tech/internet joke-related stories before (using Tina Fey's picture for a Sarah Palin story, trying to convince people that Anonymous was a terrorist organization, etc.). I'm not out to spread propaganda, I was merely remarking on the comment that I wouldn't be surprised if ran a story on how the internet is bad and leads to destruction of property, while not having read the second half of the PR. But move on please, nobody wants to read some petty argument over a small joke that maybe wasn't made clear enough to begin with.

          • Oscar

            Leoingle is right. You obviously have a political adgenda. Talk about denial. You can deny it on this post, but you can't lie to yourself. Grow up, just because you can yell louder then the last guy doesn't mean you are right. Dumb dumb.

          • LiamBryant

            Okay, this has got to stop. I'm not some troll who keeps shouting profanities and ill-constructed sentences that make me sound like a jerk, and I could try to defend myself and say again that it was a simple joke, but it would only be taken as "denial" so there's no point. This isn't youtube where people argue about stupid petty things like this, this is a site for us to enjoy latest Android and other tech news. So I apologize to all those who were offended by my joke and I think we can all move on now.

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    The most hilarious part is how many didn't read till the end before sharing it socially, and their comments after they realize it's not real.

  • Erik Cho

    This is epic! A lot of nice touches that just made this story so much funnier. The game would be worth a try, if for no other reason than to support the effort they put into this. Gave me a good laugh during this rather boring and infuriating day at work. Thanks! haha.

  • Spoken Word™

    I'd love to say I was fooled but it was obviously untrue to me being as I've dealt with building demolitions and know the building is walked numerous times before demolition and then one last time to make sure it's empty.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Way to kill the buzz :(

  • br_hermon

    I was just waiting for the wrecking crew to say they got the address' location from their new iPhone 5's. :D

    • New_Guy

      Now THAT would be hilarious =D!!!!

  • Josh Flowers

    not really a bad PR for iPhone 5, more like bad publicity for a game maker...just saying.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      "not really a bad PR for iPhone 5, more like bad publicity for a game maker...just saying."

      Someone didn't read the post.

      • Josh Flowers

        bah. blah. now i spot it. i was so busy looking for a blatent bash @ Apple.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          Right, the game is for iOS, not done by Apple. But there's no bad publicity here :)

  • GraveUypo

    nice effort but anyone not distracted would realize people don't just come to a place and start wrecking, there's a lot of safety measures that have to be fulfilled before anything. and double checking if there's no one in the buildings would be on the top of that list

  • http://droiddev.co.cc/ CuriousCursor

    so, very, confused.

  • SetiroN

    Waiting for December in hope it's not yet another angry birds.

  • Ben Baranovsky

    I thought it was real. I think I missed something. :p

  • crapo

    I bet Apple will be the one to sue the victims whose property they damaged.

  • http://www.facebook.com/adrian.tymes.1 Adrian Tymes

    I am told that PlayGearz may be willing to port this game to Android if there is enough demand for it. Their PR address is in the article; send them an email if you want it on Android. Get your friends to ask too. (Disclaimer: I work for PlayGearz, but I am not the chief decision maker and I can not officially speak for them.)

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      The PlayGearz page says you develop for Android, yet I wasn't able to find a single game for Android made by the company. What's up with that?

      Plus, why did we get the PR in the first place if there are no Android games?

      • http://www.facebook.com/adrian.tymes.1 Adrian Tymes

        Look at how many games total there are. Yumby Toss is the first one, and it launched on iOS first. Like I said, I am told that the Android port may be green-lighted (well, technically it's almost done - but we need the green light for the rest, and the marketing) depending on the iOS sales.

        I suspect the PR was sent here by someone (not me) trying to drum up support for an Android launch.

      • http://www.facebook.com/adrian.tymes.1 Adrian Tymes

        I got poked back here just now, so an update: Yumby Toss was released for Android a few months later.

  • Tyler Chappell

    Sadly, this is one of the dullest things I have ever read.

  • Davet

    The title "This may just be the best email to ever hit our inbox" is very disturbing. People's homes were destroyed! I can only hope no one lost their life.