PSP street art rankles residents

Apparent underground graffiti-ad campaign has some blogging Los Angelenos ticked off.

A few weeks ago, keen-eyed residents of San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Chicago began noticing some rather strange street art. A series of identical graffiti characters (pictured) began appearing on buildings and sidewalks in each of the cities.

Besides their high quality, what set them apart was that all the characters were playing with Sony's handheld, the PSP. However, Sony has not officially endorsed the various pieces of art, which, in most cases, is illegally painted onto public and private property. Requests for comment on the campaign were unreturned as of press time.

While seeing items from the gameworld pop up in graffiti is nothing new, many artists were concerned by what they saw as the corporate co-opting of their medium. Now it appears that everyday citizens' sensibilities have been rankled by the campaign. The technology site Popgadget posted an angry e-mail from a resident of the Lincoln Heights area of Los Angeles.

"Is anyone else concerned that Sony Playstation paid someone to vandalize our neighborhood to sell their latest toy," writes "Michelle," who claims to be a Lincoln Heights resident. "It's quite obviously an advertisement, but when I called Playstation Consumer Services this morning, they claim to know nothing about the campaign. I guess there's just some clever youngster out here in LH that just really LOVES the PSP and wants the whole world to know about it..."

Michelle also told Popgadget she has since taken action against the PSP graffiti. "I called the city today to have the stencils on the back of Juan's Market painted over," she wrote. "For some strange reason, I'd rather see my friendly local gang lay claim to that wall then have it given over to some crappy corporation and their urban marketing campaign."

The emergence of the PSP graffiti characters isn't the first time street art has helped hype a game product. In May, the Xbox 360 teaser Ourcolony.net ant logo was plastered all around many US and European metropolises.

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Discussion

100 comments
OmegaNemesis28
OmegaNemesis28

@ neojam At E3 - Sony was a success this year. Almost 3/4 of their show was in-game graphics like MGS4. I actually like the new commercial, though I'm comepletely and utterly lost in the whole "This is Living" thing. O.o

kappareign
kappareign

thats near the dumbest marketing campaign ive ever seen

Frags-o-Plenty
Frags-o-Plenty

How do we actually know it's Sony? Perhaps a competitor's trying to ruin their reputation. Sorry. Perhaps a competitor's trying to ruin their reputation . (I like Sony, but yeah, their rep is crap right now in the gaming world.)

neojam
neojam

Sony's company image drops everytime they do a new ad. lol fake ad blogs, prerendered ps2 & ps3 movies at E3 (how many noobs they got foolled LOL) False hype rootkits on music cds etc, etc & etc. Their complete marketing department sucks monkey balls.

kalkhaja
kalkhaja

"crappy company"????pfffff

Kholdstare_fire
Kholdstare_fire

"For some strange reason, I'd rather see my friendly local gang lay claim to that wall then have it given over to some crappy corporation and their urban marketing campaign." Lol!

aehs
aehs

i love graffiti, its what i do, and i love playstation, so i think this is wonderful, good urban advertising plan sony! now i really want a psp, for real. but it wasnt really sony, it was some other local graf artists in san fran, so get over it, artists paint advertising on property they shouldnt, but this isnt advertising, its just street art, that is acceptable to some, if it comes out to actually be advertising, which its proved not. but if so, i will buy a psp now.

EMAN2g
EMAN2g

Another reason Sony sucks...>_> W0w big news

psychofire
psychofire

...well its clearly anti psp....i mean the kids are all brainwashed (look at their eyes) and all their old toys are psps now saying that the psp is like takeing over their lives....but thats just what i see in it....but it looks like funny grafitti

FoZFoRiC
FoZFoRiC

Its not even good graf ...something a hasher would do

ForteX24
ForteX24

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

Erg_the_Noid
Erg_the_Noid

Hilarious. I wonder what the magazine "Adbusters" would have to say about this. Of course, I don't really care quite enough to go buy their latest issue.

vejkis
vejkis

Good, please punish them :P, I don't like the idea of big companies, viral marketing or not, uses Graffiti to endorse their products, inacceptable in my mind.

chairguru22
chairguru22

"For some strange reason, I'd rather see my friendly local gang lay claim to that wall then have it given over to some crappy corporation and their urban marketing campaign." HAHAHA

underkillerjmk
underkillerjmk

graffiti i think isnt all that bad if it aint gang related of course,its jus art basically.

Cunder
Cunder

Don't you all think what she said about having her local gang do it instead of corprate adversitement. I bet she wasn't thinking at all that or she is just a ignorant women without no knowledge. I can give you some big reasons why Corprate advertising better then gang. 1 it's just advertisement for a product. 2 You call Gang graffiti a good thing when they support violence. 3 If gangs did that and on some others gang turf you will find gangs on the news dead do to drive bys or gang wars you would even have innacent bystanders found dead do to stupid **** like that. Women if you ever read this you are one dumb stupid B***h for supporting gang graffti which could end up with gang violence at the end of the result.

nightbeaver
nightbeaver

Anyone else noticed that this person seems to be AGAINST the psp. Looks like a statement along the lines of "kiads play too many video games". Check out the hypnotised eyes on all the menacing young offenders. heh.

BOAT36
BOAT36

digitalgator and initiald411, you guys rule!

BOAT36
BOAT36

Dude, sony knows the limitations of the PSP. They wouldn't have someone draw that because then stupid kids would go home and kill their PSPS . This is probably the work of some dumb, crazy DS lover who hates PSPS. PSP is SOOOO much better than DS, and the person who drew that obviosly can't amidt it. Futher more, the lady who made the complaint shouldn't get so worked up. She lives in LA. Grafiti basically lives there.

c99js
c99js

mutenpika i have one thing to say to you about your so called 'good games' on the ds Burnout!!!!!!. compare the two and you will see that u have made a poor choice in the choosing of your console. or as master yoda would put it character the ds may have but absolute power and flexibility it does not. oh wait... u cant play battlefront 2 either so i guess u wont respect the yoda man!!! people like u need to know when they are beaten......Loser!

DeltaSpirit
DeltaSpirit

does anyone know were in San Francisco there things are?

Sold1er543
Sold1er543

I dont know about anyone else but I thought I saw some sexual references...

EnterTheHero
EnterTheHero

I'll just file this under "over-sensitive" Californian with another "I only like my small little local shops" attitude. Guess what the corporations are here to stay so get a helmet because life sucks deal with it.

digitalgator
digitalgator

HELL HELL YES! I read every post on this subject and initiald411, is right on the money, I could not agree more with him, people are a bunch of babies, who need to post their hating spam elsewhere, I own both the PSP and the DS, bought them both on their release dates and stand bye the PSP all the way, its graphics are way better, it has more features and already has better games then the DS, with more on the way. I would like to see the DS try and play Prince of Persia, but I don

initiald411
initiald411

u know what for all the psp haters get the hell outta here and second everyone just needs to chill out and all the breaking comments about the psp can that, i've dropped my psp so many times I lost count so don't go talkin about breakin and besides its better then that crap nintendo put out and called it a system and don't start about u don't know cuz I do I bought a ds and took it back and demanded my money back and as soon as I got it back I took it and put it on a psp and that was the best decision ever cuz personally the ds sucks and the thing they call graphics make me sick it was a rushed system just like the xbox360, as u can see the xbox360 is breakin all over the place but all that is besides the point just had to kill all the haters out their that wish they had a psp but whatever and about those signs I could care less people in this world are becoming a bunch of babies and cry about everything,aww poor poor store it has a tag on it about psp who cares my school has signs on it with gang logos sayin i'll kill u in every language but I still go to school point in fact stop cryin about dumb stuff I swear a bunch of babies in what's saposed to be some of the hardest cities in the states anyways I could careless about that crap and if u are worried about it u need to get a life cuz its obvious u have nothing to do if signs on the street bother u its not like its pointing out a race or something dang people these days need to chill the hell out, their are saposed gamers on here who sound like those same people baggin on violence in games and how it makes kids kill that's how dumb some people sound on here, personal fact i've been playin games my whole life and i'm the lease most likely to fight someone but all this aside this crap is stupid that's all I got to say

darkcloud89
darkcloud89

I was driving around in San Francisco and I saw these exact drawings on the walls of some corner store! I was like, WHOA, its just like what's going on in LA!

xbox3602
xbox3602

i live in nyc and there is a big graffiti painting of this around the corner of my block. the people that made are called tats cru which is a famous grafiti crew in nyc. they even have a website. these psp graffiti art is everywhere here.

xbox3602
xbox3602

i live in nyc and there is a big graffiti painting of this around the corner of my block. the people that made are called tats cru which is a famous grafiti crew in nyc. they even have a website. these psp graffiti art is everywhere here.

sgtZipper
sgtZipper

Some of you might want to read the article before giving any comments.

Jackrabbit_slim
Jackrabbit_slim

Sony paid $100 per building to graphitti the advertising in question on the sides of those buildings. I recieved a message from a Mr. Jake_hoshgothen, whos isn't high enough level to post here, but kindly pointed out that this news is old. Check out this wired news article for an explanation: http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,69741,00.html

nazraq
nazraq

Get as mad as you choose, but if sony did it i'll tell you that they wouldn't have if you could go to a city without graffiti everywhere. Sony has just as much right to do so. It doesn't matter what the reason, in most cases graffiti is a crime.

aramitz
aramitz

I imagine that considering current literacy standards that more kids can read tags/graffiti then can actually read real words these days. They don't read a game industry magazine while their shooting up in an alleyway afterall. Therefore the campaign is merely suggesting not to mug people for crack and instead spend that ill-gotten money on a PSP.

chickenman92
chickenman92

Whats the big deal? Theirs no difference between this graffiti and any other graffiti.

badgerman92
badgerman92

yea, sony needs to realize that most game developers are over there in japan, not in europe(wipeout pure was made in europe)! then the nazi aliens would stop

Pn0y6i9
Pn0y6i9

yeah, don't think that this is Sony's Ad campaign. I agree with videogamr49 that people that HATE the PSP are the ones that may have done it showing that PSPs are, as of right now, really good for nothing and they are just depicting "other uses" for the PSP since its video games have been crap. It is true though, there hasn't really been great PSP games. It has been collecting dust for a few months till "Legends of Heroes" came out. Finally, an RPG on the PSP. Sony needs to step it up.

badgerman92
badgerman92

uh, what is this? are the aliens ttelling us something? uh, conspiracy theory: some kids went missing and they were ubducted by the same aliens that dropped off nazis on earth. so these hypnotized "nazi kids" are trying to make the psp/ds war include violence, by impaling psps, and torturing them. the point: WW3 is coming soon, but WW3 is gonna be a console war. you must pick a side before it starts or you will be killed! i join the PSPs, these evil nazi aliens are not taking away all non-ds consoles!

sneakthief81
sneakthief81

Yup..brainwashed, i know i am whenever i'm playing with mine. Anyways, I live about ten blocks from this place, out here in LA...I'll tell you this much..this isn't propaganda or some kid who loves his PSP...this guy is a "writer", i used to be one around 4 years ago. You see..writers are taggers, but with a different cause..these guys tag, but try to justify it by thinking that they're promoting some kind of political statement. So in some sence, those who think he's bashing the PSP..u'r right. Like an artist, he's trying to get a point across, and believe me when i say that these guys have no prblem sending these stencils over mail, and having another like-minded individual in New York ready to help him in his art campaign. Just by all the post here, if i was him, it would show that the art work paid off...peaople obviously noticed and he actually made u think. In the end, thats all he wanted to do and he achieved it.

prometheus3
prometheus3

By the look in their eyes, it looks like the the kids playing with the PSP are being brainwashed or controlled?????

cheekystoner
cheekystoner

uhg, can we all say redunancy...yeesh! I hope that the human race will get over it's urge to assume & condemn ignorantly. was she serious? she would rather look at a bunch of random profanity (most graffitti i see is of a rather unpleasant nature) then some cute little gamers, unsettling. Frankly if society weren't so willing to create "street life" and then ignore it, shun it, remove it's appearance but not it's existence, maybe the more palatable forms of graffitti art would be more prevelent. maybe by nurturing the creative minds at work a level of visual prestige could raise property values? Ah, but screw that right? you'ld all have to give up yer' guns first, eh?

ac2565
ac2565

neoand12 done with psp now I have to start with PS3 (select an action below) ______________ Report Abuse To Moderator Posted 12/02/2005 11:07am k wtf does that have to do with this topic

ac2565
ac2565

renderpaz I guess you guys have been playing your PSP too much, these tags are NOT pro psp at all. Notice their eyes, notice the expressions. These tags are satire, they are simply showing how electronics like the PSP are filling every second with brainless (most of the time) activity, when instead they could be doing what normal children should be doing. Nothing is wrong with the occasional hour-long PSP fest, but some kids make it their job. I bet the artists are so pissed that their seemingly intellingent message was missed. In any case big companies do illegitamate things to get their name out, but nothing blatant like this...I dont even know why I bother with this comment, a total of 20 IQ points may glaze over it. I appologize to all those who got it. / yes i agree with u renderpaz it obviously isnt advertising and if it is it is the worst advertising better

neoand12
neoand12

done with psp now I have to start with PS3

Jackrabbit_slim
Jackrabbit_slim

It could be sony because: Sony wants publicity, this will be all over websites like gamespot and maybe the news. I'm sure what ever fines they have to pay if cought will be minimal compared to a massive advertising campaign. The artist bothered to portray children of both sexes and different ethnicities, this seems more likely to be corperate advertising than random mischief. Also, the pictures happen to appear in the 5 most populated cities in the US (at least 5 of the top 10). Then again, it could be a person (or group) who is politically correct, and is showing the displacement of other, more social passtimes by the sony PSP. Not sure why this group would focus on just the PSP though, as there are other companies and system that could take the blame for that. I'm going to bet it's corporate in the end, although it may not be sony....

Vriezen
Vriezen

if that really was sony paying people to paint something like that all over. you'd think that the artwork would be better in the first place. especially if they are the same in various cities. if it was by playstation then the designs would have at least been better and at least been depicting the psp in a positive note. from what i can see it looks like an underground grassroots campaign to defame video games. i mean really it looks like kids are being brainwashed by it and all their childhood memories have been replaced by video games devoid of all activities that a "normal" kid in a normal rockwell painting or whatever would have experienced. my only question is why would they use the psp and not every console or show several of them at least. considering popularity why not the gameboy ds instead? (i myself am a psp owner as well as an xbox, ps2 and literally every other old school console ever made excet for anything nintendo post super nintendo. btw for psp i can't deny that i am addicted to grand theft auto liberty city stories biggest reason i bought one in the first place in addition to the usual capabilities) or an xbox or ea sports.. if not a console company. might even be a contingent of psp owners/artists or something saying giving out a big "middle finger" to all the politics surrounding video games as of late. hilary clinton and arnold schwarzenegger.. jack thompson or whatever his name is.. using video games as a springboard to boost their own political standing and thrust hemselves into the limelight. on average a gamer of course thinks it all is ridiculous but how many do you know of that actually do something about it? i mean sure we can **** about it all we want amongst each other but is that going to prove to these select few that are hyping up a problem that if passed might affect the content of our future games? either way i might have gone off the point with my little rant. just something to think about it.. now i'm going to take leave so i can play WoW. unless some politician has something to say about that? ;)

joyer
joyer

haha well microsoft got in trouble in sydney, australia by paying people stencilling green xbox symbols over the pavement over here when the xbox was about to be released... dont know if they tried this elewhere but when people found out it was microsoft they were pissed... and they subsequently had to spend far more money removing it a week later and were very apolegetic, makes no difference to microsoft though exposure good or bad is exposure. eh i dunno satire probably, but it wouldve been understood better if say the psp was a mainstream thing... at the moment its only demographic is rich kids... well only keen gamers with cash or people who like to own the newest gadget.. i dunno maybe it wouldve been a better attack on mindless gaming if they used an oldschool gameboy, at least people know that plays videogames i dunno psp has what a billion uses mostve which will be outstripped by the new videoplaying ipods.. which is like the same demographic as the people who own psps... sony shouldve stuck to video games probably instead of making a clumsy expensive thing

renderpaz
renderpaz

I guess you guys have been playing your PSP too much, these tags are NOT pro psp at all. Notice their eyes, notice the expressions. These tags are satire, they are simply showing how electronics like the PSP are filling every second with brainless (most of the time) activity, when instead they could be doing what normal children should be doing. Nothing is wrong with the occasional hour-long PSP fest, but some kids make it their job. I bet the artists are so pissed that their seemingly intellingent message was missed. In any case big companies do illegitamate things to get their name out, but nothing blatant like this...I dont even know why I bother with this comment, a total of 20 IQ points may glaze over it. I appologize to all those who got it.