What if they advertised a video game that never materialized? Sure, we're told that the Ghostbusters video game is still on track to be published by somebody someday, but in the meantime the project is hanging in that horrible state of limbo between here and the afterlife. Considering that the game was supposed to be released very soon, the advertising machine had already cranked up to promote the game. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to turn the machine off once it's begun to charge up, meaning that if you went to Penny Arcade Expo last week, you may have spotted (or acquired) Ghostbusters lanyards meant to stir up some excitement. Variety has the story behind the advertisements that could not be stopped. What a tease!
I was interviewing Penny Arcade business chief Robert Khoo for a story about PAX running this weekend (look for it!) and he noted that Vivendi label Sierra signed up to sponsor the lanyards all the way back in January and sent them, with the Ghostbusters logo, back in June. But it wasn't until two weeks before the show (probably right after ActiBlizzard made its fateful announcement) that Sierra pulled out of displaying Ghostbusters (and, I assume, other games, many of which are now cancelled). Awkward!
As Khoo himself said, "We didn't have much of a choice as finding an alternate lanyard provider, so we just ran with it." Of course, one publisher or another is going to put the game out in 2009, according to licensor Sony Pictures, so as Khoo added, "SOMEONE out there is benefiting from it!" Just not the folks who actually paid for it.
Some of the best Ghostbusters tie-in merchandise becomes hard to find. Why, I remember when fast food chain Hardee's had to recall the kiddie meal Ghostbusters II noisemakers back in 1989 because they were a choking hazard. This isn't quite the same issue, but the lanyards are probably going to end up attached to lost Ghostbusters merchandise lore just the same. If you want to get a lanyard for yourself I'd recommend that you get over to eBay right now before they become rare collectibles. Some of the most expensive game memorabilia is for games that never actually reached stores. I bet that somewhere out there is a big box packed full of t-shirts for Stargate SG-1: The Alliance that will pay for someone's down payment on a home someday.