PSP hype site draws backlash

Surreptitious marketing campaign draws ire of gaming community, site updates with admission of shenanigans.

by

Ummm...actually it is.

Last month, a Web site debuted called All I Want for Xmas is a PSP, supposedly established as an effort by two friends--Charlie and Jeremy--to get Jeremy's parents to buy him a PlayStation Portable for Christmas. The site included PSP-centric greeting cards, T-shirt iron-on patterns to print out, YouTube videos featuring songs about the system, and an abundance of Internet and street slang, some of it improperly used.

The site went largely unnoticed until this week, when someone on the Something Awful forums (warning: foul language) started a thread about it, pointing out the quality of graphic design on some of the site's offerings, attractive T-shirt models, and use of Sony terminology like "PSP Entertainment Pack" to describe the system.

Within minutes, it was determined that the site had been registered by Zipatoni, a marketing firm that touts "interruptive buzz marketing" among its specialties, and counts Sony among its clients. Word of the campaign quickly spread and the site's comments sections were bombarded with words from angry visitors.

Today the site's owners pulled the YouTube videos and a posting with a $249 bill printout (just the right amount to buy a PSP Entertainment Pack), killed the comments sections and admitted the site had been a sham.

In an update attributed to Sony Computer Entertainment America, the following message was posted:

"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."

This is not the first time Sony's PSP advertising has ruffled feathers. Last year a graffiti campaign that saw sidewalks and buildings decorated with addle-eyed children playing the PSP began appearing in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Chicago. Earlier this year, one New York City politician called for Sony to pull the ads and pay $20,000 to the city's antigraffiti program.

In June, a series of PSP ads in the UK drew criticism for their slogans, which included "Strong language and scenes of a sexual nature here," "Your girlfriend's white bits here," and "Saucy emails won't get you fired here." The next month, an ad campaign promoting the debut of a white model of the PSP in Europe led to accusations of racism. It depicted a white woman wearing a scowl on her face and holding a black woman by the jaw threateningly, along with the tagline, "PlayStation Portable White is coming." It was eventually pulled.

A Sony representative told GameSpot the company created the site "as a humorous site targeting those interested in getting a PSP system this holiday season," and that it would continue to update the site in the future.

Discussion

543 comments
LovePotionNo9
LovePotionNo9

I don't think there's anything wrong with them creating that site. We should treat all fan sites as potential advertisers. But yeah, their precise wording probably didn't make it sound very believable. They should know better than that.

blueflamedino
blueflamedino

Sony has been always bad with marketing, but lately, they just been plain out screwing up

Javaguychronox
Javaguychronox

... What is Sony doing? These adverts simply anger people. Perhaps one day they will learn. Perhaps not.

strategyking92
strategyking92

OMG I WANT BELEIVE THE PSP WHITE AD! New EVIDENCE SONY EU IS RACIST!

EyeNixon
EyeNixon

How totally lame, Sony has enough fans that they don't have to resort to stuff like this.

Kcube
Kcube

SOny should stop with this stuff and start giving gamers what they want. Sure Sex sells but games sell game machines.Times are changing and Sony isn't.Hell let me head the Viral marketing Sony ,Just some nobody on a message board but rest assured you would see change for the better.^_^

especensor
especensor

i agree with "newoldrenegade" these subliminal messages are hilarious. its funny to constantly read up sony getting busted for controversial ads.

Chavagnatze
Chavagnatze

For the most part you are right. All together PSP has sucked $1000 out of my pocket. The sad part of it is that it is a paper weight 70% of the time.

Chavagnatze
Chavagnatze

For the most part you are right. All together PSP has sucked $1000 out of my pocket. The sad part of it is that it is a paper weight 70% of the time.

DeathToTheXBOX
DeathToTheXBOX

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

newoldrenegade
newoldrenegade

who cares, sony should keep doing these ads. keep up the subliminal stuff.

Ninja99
Ninja99

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

GrimBee
GrimBee

"Are you kidding the prices on the Sandisk gaming sticks are awesome.....$110 for 4gig, and $67 for 2gig! " lol prices for SD cards are half that. Plus, the point being, also, is that a 30gb ipod costs about £170, and a psp with a 1gb card costs £170... When someone wants a music player, the psp is pretty poor in comparison. People buy a console (handheld) to play game primarily. If they are a media mogul, then basically they will already have their eye on other products which surpass the psp's features. This is why the DS has been so well recieved, it leaves the web browsing, mp3 playing functions as a second option, putting games FIRST. Sony, if they put the games on memorycards instead of UMD's this would be fantastic, it would slim down the console considerably, it would increase battery life, it would be easy to transport the games if they were on a card.

Ivoryblaze
Ivoryblaze

Are you kidding the prices on the Sandisk gaming sticks are awesome.....$110 for 4gig, and $67 for 2gig!

chemeleon_789
chemeleon_789

Seems like there's a huge gap between the marketing department and the rest of the company. I'm really not sure what Sony's trying to do.. they advertise the PSP like it's the coolest thing in the world, but they're LOSING MONEY on every one they sell. Surely they should be focusing all their attention on the games, after all that's it's main selling point.. while the other features are a bonus, they're still secondary. Maybe the execs at sony, who have never had an unsuccessful console so far, haven't fully realised that the quality of the games are what ultimately make or break a console.

mononokehime316
mononokehime316

instead of paying for ads why dont sony pay some developers to make some decent games for the thing. mine is not being used as the games are dull and duller.

GreenGoblin2099
GreenGoblin2099

I wonder what's the fuzz with this kind of marketing... I kinda like how the don't use the usual stuff. But of course, I'd like the PSP to have better games. I really want one just to play MGS:PO but that's it... if it had more cool games, I'd buy it with no marketing required.

GreyFoxV1
GreyFoxV1

Instead of doing stupid ad campaigns they could, you know, start making PSP games that aren't dog s**t.

GrimBee
GrimBee

"Baroncx" .. The psp is feature packed (I have both white and black versions) but its more of a JACK OF ALL TRADES kind of system. Where the ipod plays music primarily, when playing videos the battery is pretty pants (6 hours aint too shabby though). But it doesnt sacrifice its MAIN PURPOSE for the sake of adding other nifty features. For example, the mp3 playing side of it is perfect, small design, nice sound, easy software, great battery life for playing music. The psp is good as a music player, but not very pocket friendly because of the always visible screen, and memory cards are massive in price, when compared to a 30gb ipod... 30gb of cards would cost you ALOT. And still you dont have the software or the organizing like there is with the ipod. Other main purpose media players have divx support, play dvds battery life goes into about 6 hours (not 2 - 3 hours like the psp). You see, I can go on and on. But people who primarily buy a psp want it for games, but its a shame because of its other features, it keeps the price high, and the battery low.. and the sony drm doesnt help either.

scottsun6
scottsun6

"PlayStation Portable White is coming." They just wanted the attention, what a stupid ad!!

Ivoryblaze
Ivoryblaze

No offense but PSP is getting owned by the DS Lite in Japan. I just got back from a three week trip, and every store was sold out of the DS Lites, but you could pretty much find PSP's everywhere. I searched Akihabara, Shinjuku, Tachikawa, Michida, and Harajuku/Shibuya.

Scammeleon
Scammeleon

Baroncx: "i would love to see something that can not only play music, connect to wifi, play games in a near ps2 graphics, and surf the web. doing all this while looking great, having a huge game selection and a decent yet upgradable battery life" The computer you're using right now?

Bsblldude12
Bsblldude12

IMO Sony's ads are brilliant. They catch people's attention and make you look again and think about it. Is that not what advertising is about?

Baroncx
Baroncx

oh, and to the people that are saying "there are many products that are better than the psp" please link them, i would love to see something that can not only play music, connect to wifi, play games in a near ps2 graphics, and surf the web. doing all this while looking great, having a huge game selection and a decent yet upgradable battery life.

Baroncx
Baroncx

people are making too big of a deal about this. buisness is about making money, and if that is what sony wants to do to up their psp sales, more power to them.

KOSMOSEngineer
KOSMOSEngineer

PSP is a great system. I have one and I love it. But the ads certainly weren't what convinced me to buy it. I had no intention of buying one until I played my friends, I was hooked. (for the record, playing DS had no such effect on me)

p_dime
p_dime

I own a PSP. But I don't like the way they market themselves. Just bring the good games and everything else at a good price. Sony is so greedy, if it weren't for the games(Tekken, MGS, etc.) people would've dropped the label completely.

GrimBee
GrimBee

Hey! I got a great psp ad - The screen slowly opens to reveal a deep-black background, looming rumbling sound all around fades in louder and louder with the text "this time, handheld gaming is as real as real can get...." fades in.. The sound gets louder... the text gets brighter!... AND THEN... "so heres this giant enemy crab.." A giant crab jumps out of the black background, dominating the screen with its power.. "only with the power of psp, can you attack its weakpoint, for massive damage.. ahem". ;) Seriously though, I think that would be a great ad! Hideo Kojima has the guts to make jokes of things he has been involved with, why not sony? I think if sony got with the times a little, looked at their mistakes, they can turn this into something "humerous", take away the negativity and create a more positive vibe for the company. All it is right now is negative press from sony, no facts to back up their promises etc etc... Like this ad going sour for instance. A bit of a joke at their expensive is what is needed, so people can start to think of the company of actually seeing the broader picture, instead of an uncomfortably arrogant one. I mean, metal gear solid wouldnt be the same if Kojima stood by using raiden in MGS2, and continued with ignorance to have him as a main character. The series gained MASSES of credibility because it was able to take the mistakes it has made, with a tounge firmly in cheek. Somehow.. I dont think Sony are THAT humerous ;)

rich639
rich639

sony why dont you just go and do something useful with your advertisement instead of trying to do something creative. especially if you mention anything to do with *gasp sex or using squirrels that talk to each other. you should instead bombard the consumer with a large amount or boring technicle dribble talking about how fast the processor is and how it can play a game with a large amount of pixels.

Cobalt_Strike
Cobalt_Strike

You attack its weak point for massive funky freshness

shaungnurse
shaungnurse

wow they suck at making ads.. really bad.. the only cool one was the squirrell one in my opinion

joel324
joel324

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Chavagnatze
Chavagnatze

Exactly. Except half of the time it sucks at being a game system.

Chavagnatze
Chavagnatze

Exactly. Except half of the time it sucks at being a game system.

omegabyte
omegabyte

Here's the major problem with the PSP advertising: They aren't marketting it as a game system. Look at pretty much any ad for the PSP, and at no point do they play an actual game on this supposed portable game system. Which is retarded.

Chavagnatze
Chavagnatze

GrimBee pretty much answers our quetions _-J4K3-_. When you really think about it the PSP sucks. I don't want to be flamed or anything but just like GrimBee implies, there are many other products that are way better than the PSP.

Chavagnatze
Chavagnatze

GrimBee pretty much answers our quetions _-J4K3-_. When you really think about it the PSP sucks. I don't want to be flamed or anything but just like GrimBee implies, there are many other products that are way better than the PSP.

Koolsen
Koolsen

Its now a blank page... Go check it out.

Tigerman950
Tigerman950

Man PSP is totally failing. Should I sell mine?

_-J4K3-_
_-J4K3-_

whats wrong with the psp?

sbhuignmai
sbhuignmai

PSP hype site draws backlash Surreptitious marketing campaign draws ire of gaming community, site updates with admission of shenanigans. By Brendan Sinclair, GameSpot Posted Dec 13, 2006 9:23 pm GMT Ummm...actually it is. Last month, a Web site debuted called All I Want for Xmas is a PSP, supposedly established as an effort by two friends--Charlie and Jeremy--to get Jeremy's parents to buy him a PlayStation Portable for Christmas. The site included PSP-centric greeting cards, T-shirt iron-on patterns to print out, YouTube videos featuring songs about the system, and an abundance of Internet and street slang, some of it improperly used. The site went largely unnoticed until this week, when someone on the Something Awful forums (warning: foul language) started a thread about it, pointing out the quality of graphic design on some of the site's offerings, attractive T-shirt models, and use of Sony terminology like "PSP Entertainment Pack" to describe the system. Within minutes, it was determined that the site had been registered by Zipatoni, a marketing firm that touts "interruptive buzz marketing" among its specialties, and counts Sony among its clients. Word of the campaign quickly spread and the site's comments sections were bombarded with words from angry visitors. Today the site's owners pulled the YouTube videos and a posting with a $249 bill printout (just the right amount to buy a PSP Entertainment Pack), killed the comments sections and admitted the site had been a sham. In an update attributed to Sony Computer Entertainment America, the following message was posted: "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." This is not the first time Sony's PSP advertising has ruffled feathers. Last year a graffiti campaign that saw sidewalks and buildings decorated with addle-eyed children playing the PSP began appearing in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Chicago. Earlier this year, one New York City politician called for Sony to pull the ads and pay $20,000 to the city's antigraffiti program. In June, a series of PSP ads in the UK drew criticism for their slogans, which included "Strong language and scenes of a sexual nature here," "Your girlfriend's white bits here," and "Saucy emails won't get you fired here." The next month, an ad campaign promoting the debut of a white model of the PSP in Europe led to accusations of racism. It depicted a white woman wearing a scowl on her face and holding a black woman by the jaw threateningly, along with the tagline, "PlayStation Portable White is coming." It was eventually pulled. A Sony representative told GameSpot the company created the site "as a humorous site targeting those interested in getting a PSP system this holiday season," and that it would continue to update the site in the future.

goochtoe
goochtoe

Sony's going to be sued for a lot of money sooner or later... Their marketing team must be 80% tards, 20% locked in a closet

GrimBee
GrimBee

bravia ads.. good. its a good product. psp.... not so good..

GrimBee
GrimBee

Someone should make an "I DONT want a PSP for Christmas, please dont get me one!" card site... could be "humorous"... lol. Seriously though, whats so wrong with the PSP that they can't just make normal ads for it. I mean, you dont get these kind of ads for popular mobile phones, ipods, ds... those products sell like hot-cakes.. why dont sony take a look up at what actually WORKS?! Maybe after this, they will make some tidy advertising which shows what the psp can actually DO. I guarantee sales will improve then, the psp isn't that bad a product.. But you know, with the psp, you have the games (which are also on ps2) to market to people.. the expensive memory sticks... the UMD titles which are more expensive than dvds and you cant play them in anything else... I guess the psp is quite a difficult product to market... I guess this is why they have to resort to this kind of advertising. A Nintendo DS ad - All it needs to do is show what it does, how small the games are, how long the battery lasts... people see this, say "thats cool" and there, ad over. A psp hasn't got much to show off except the big screen.. I mean... think of some things you COULD promote the psp with... everything will need a * on it with some small print! "Watch movies on your psp!* (additional UMD movies sold seperately)" "Watch movies from memory stick!* (converting software not avaliable from Sony, memory sticks sold seperately) "Play gorgeous 3d games whenever you like!* (*subject to battery life, lasts 2-3 hours of normal gaming use)" Everything about the psp is hard to market to the market its in. Because almost all media players have internal storage, higher battery life, play dvds or divx files... Nobody likes having to buy this, convert that, charge this, cant use that... This is probably why Sony have to resort to vague advertising gimmicks like this - uninformative, hype provoking silliness... I mean.... shall I dare say it again... "PSP...Its like watching carpet...outside..."

crushgoil
crushgoil

Sony isn't very good at advertising...