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THQ's 'Homefront' Balloon Stunt Angers San Francisco Residents

balloons in San Francisco Bay
Some San Francisco residents are upset about a promotional stunt that, in support of a video game, sent thousands of red balloons drifting across the city on Wednesday, some landing in the nearby bay.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, game developer THQ released the balloons, which had promotional cards from Gamestop attached to them, to promote its new game 'Homefront' at the Game Developers Conference. When people noticed the balloons in the bay, much of their ire was directed at Gamestop, but the retailer was quick to distance itself from the stunt. "[The] balloon drop stunt in San Francisco was created by THQ... and Gamestop had no prior knowledge of it," the company said in a statement.

THQ responded, reassuring San Franciscans that the balloons were biodegradable, and of no threat to the environment. "[The balloons] start the process of biodegrading as soon as they're blown up with the helium. There should not be any environmental concerns," Julia MacMedan, THQ's vice president of corporate communications, told CNET. That may be true, but there's still an immediate threat to wildlife, according to Ann Bauer of The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito. "It's biodegradable over time, but a bird can still get entangled in it right now. A sea lion could be curious about it, bite it and swallow it. It could clog their stomach and cause them to die -- right now. Biodegradable takes time to happen," she said.

Tags: advertising, balloons, environment, GameDevelopersConference, gamestop, gaming, green, marketing, SanFrancisco, stunts, THQ, top, VideoGames