This is either one of the most embarrassing news bloopers of the year or the smartest viral marketing scheme we’ve ever seen.
During a report last week on the conflict in Syria, BBC News accidentally used the logo for the ‘United Nations Space Command’ — the agency tasked with protecting Earth from hostile forces in the Halo video game franchise — to represent the significantly less fictional United Nations Security Council. Whoops!
At least the BBC was quick to issue an apology when asked about it.
“BBC News makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all images broadcast, however very occasionally mistakes do happen,” the network told Eurogamer. “Unfortunately an incorrect logo was used during a segment on last week’s News at One bulletin and we apologise to viewers for the mistake.”
It turns out the U.N.’s Security Council doesn’t have its own logo, instead relying on the standard U.N. logo. The BBC corrected the error in later versions of the newscast, but wasn’t fast enough to keep it off YouTube:
How did the gaffe happen? Chalk it up to quick and dirty reporting, though to be fair, Halo’s UNSC logo and the real U.N. logo do bear a passing resemblance to each other. The stretched wings of the Halo logo could be confused for the laurel leaves of the real U.N. logo, if, you know, you weren’t paying attention to your work. At all.
If it’s any consolation to the BBC (and anchor Sophie Raworth, whose face will unfortunately be associated with the flub for some time), it’s not the first news organization to make the mistake.
The CanAsian Times used the same Halo logo in its coverage of Syria — and it has yet to fix the mistake more than three months later.