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Oh, Sony. How Low You've Sunk

Sony made a fake blog and filmed fake YouTube videos where the people authoring the blog and appearing in the videos pretended to be consumers and fans of the PSP. Then they got caught. Now people aren't so happy with Sony.

Piggybacking the YouTube bonanza, the company has hired "consumer activation" firm Zipatoni to create a false video-and-blogging approach to generate interest in their flagging PlayStation Portable handheld machine. The video/blog/ads featured people portending to be authentic PSP fans creating messages of love/want for the console, but were quickly uncovered by SomethingAwful.com's dedicated base as superficial facades shielding mouthpieces for the corporation.
As I (and others more qualified than I) have commented before (under a different guise), big business must tread carefully if it wishes to employ "yoof" tactics to generate interest in its brands. Blogs and other social software rely upon the trust of the reader, which is why links, references and disclaimers feature on many (not all) posts. Transparency is key in the modern advertising-savvy marketplace. Bad fakes can be spotted a mile away, and good fakes often get found out with a fanfare of negativity.

Here's the link to SomethingAwful.com's forum and the discussion on how bizarre and obviously fake the blog is.

Now that the cat's out of the bag, Sony has removed the comments and the YouTube video from the blog. They also posted this "apology":

Busted. Nailed. Snagged. As many of you have figured out (maybe our speech was a little too funky fresh???), Peter isn't a real hip-hop maven and this site was actually developed by Sony. Guess we were trying to be just a little too clever. From this point forward, we will just stick to making cool products, and use this site to give you nothing but the facts on the PSP.

Sony Computer Entertainment America

As Tycho said, do they expect a gold star? The apology comes off as fake. "Funky fresh"? Give me a break.

This was prolly prompted by 2 factors. 1) People are pissed and 2) the FTC issued this statement on Tuesday saying they'll be looking more closely into "word-of-mouth marketing" and issuing fines.

I think that people who were fully intending to get a PSP will still do so. But i think anyone on the fence due to price or games available or whatever is going to look elsewhere. People get pretty touchy about being lied to. As long as you can keep them from realizing it or distract them with enough stuff so they don't want to believe it (e.g., Iraq, the last 2 presidential elections, U.S. foreign policy, etc.), you're golden. But once they do know, they get righteous. You really can't defeat the holy fires of righteous anger. At least, not for a few months, until the next wave of shiny things comes out.


By min | December 14, 2006, 8:22 AM | Video Games | Comments (0)| Link

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