Monday, December 11, 2006

SONY: Oops! We did it Again.

Sony’s PSP marketing has gone off the deep end

The once well oiled marketing machine that sold the RPG to Americans with glossy ads have been reduced to bungling the advertising campaign of the PSP not once, twice, thrice, but FOUR times (at least).

There were the ill-conceived ‘fake’ PSP graffiti ads, the ‘White is Coming’ European PSP ads which featured a white woman grasping the face of a black man that were accused of having racist undertones. Then last year’s awful ‘Portable Nuts’campaign failed to ignite public interest in the machine in the territory where the PSP had performed the strongest, North America. The spots featured animated squirrels talking like gangsters and trying to sell consumers the idea of the PSP as being a portable equivalents of what gamers have in their home since the PSP is supposedly very close to the PS2 architecturally.

Like to eat nuts at home? Well with a PSP, you can take your nuts on the road, ‘portable nuts’ get it?

Well, this really takes the cake. Sony’s viral markets tried to cash in on the youtube craze by signing up and uploading various supposedly ‘fan made’ videos ‘normal’ people rapping or singing to concept of ‘wanting a PSP’ for Christmas. One of the most awful videos featured an Eminem wannabe who sings a very bad rap about wanting a PSP. As the original poster at Something Awful noted:

A few things stood out, though: he apparently bought a PSP faceplate just for dancing with in this video, he praises random features of the PSP (I love the big screen?), just small shit like that.

This caught the attention of a few people. The video leads YouTubites to a website, which proved to be the viral marketer’s undoing. A BBC blog later noted what happened next.

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's dedicated base as superficial facades shielding mouthpieces for the corporation.

So there you have it. Another awful Christmas for Sony and its PSP, and I was actually beginning to like its PSP marketing, you know, the classy ones featuring the emo girlfriend leading her boyfriend on a wild PSP/1 Gig memory stick scavenger hunt through the hip part of town ending with the two meeting. Those were nicely done, but it seems like these YouTube ads were the Internet component of that campaign.

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