On Gear Live: Samsung S95C: The OLED TV You Can’t Afford (to Ignore!)


Find Our Latest Video Reviews on YouTube!

If you want to stay on top of all of our video reviews of the latest tech, be sure to check out and subscribe to the Gear Live YouTube channel, hosted by Andru Edwards! It’s free!

Tuesday December 12, 2006 7:41 am

Sony Keeps Digging With The Worst Viral Marketing Campaign Ever

How much faith should you put in a marketing firm whose website uses the phrase “Five Fingers. One Fist?” Answer: None to very none.

Sony is learning yet another lesson the hard way (a favorite pastime for them in itself, it would seem) after a stunningly awful viral marketing campaign backfired and was revealed on a Something Awful forum thread for what it was: a stunningly awful viral marketing campaign.

Right now, you’re probably thinking “hey, viral can be cool.” And you’re right. Viral can be cool. But the very nature of viral marketing often relies on a certain level of deception in order to “infect” the masses. There’s also a certain je nais se quois to the campaign that keeps it on the level, even after its roots are revealed. Sony’s marketing company launched the blog “alliwantforxmasisapsp.” The “backstory,” such as it is exists, is a simple one:

i (charlie) have a psp. my friend jeremy does not. but he wants one this year for xmas.

so we started clowning with sum not-so-subtle hints to j’s parents that a psp would be teh perfect gift. we created this site to spread the luv to those like j who want a psp!

Awesome! They can’t spell, just like Sony’s target audience! Take a look at those not-so-subtle hints j and c have whipped up for us, starting with this “rap” “video”, after the jump:

If you made it through more than the first 3 seconds, you’ll have noticed one very clear indication that this campaign wasn’t going to succeed: It sucks. And not just a little bit. No, it sucks completely, and with every fiber of its being. That’s impressive. Numa Numa guy got passed around because he was fun to watch and hilarious. ILoveBees was popular because it was a fun “alternate reality” game that people became involved in, and that had its own storyline that worked outside of the product (Halo 3) it was linked to. And ZeFrank is popular because he’s witty, engaging and genuine. These are all examples of phenomena that have grown virally, with a community growing around them, and the concept that this campaign was attempting to take full advantage of. Instead, the only metric Sony might succeed in with this campaign is in eyeballs alone. But not all press is good press, and when The Guardian runs a column with the headline “New Sony viral marketing ploy angers consumers,” you enter a dark place where shareholder value could even potentially take a hit.

If there are classes to be taught on Viral Marketing specifically, you can bet that this will become a shining example of what not to do. Sony has insulted their entire consumer base. It has “activated consumers” just like marketing firm Zipatoni promises, but it has “activated” them to simply express their outright hatred for the company’s tactics and even worse, its product. When you’re already treading on thin ice and don’t have much public relations equity to burn, creating a campaign that manages to be both poorly executed and wince-inducing is a horrible move that only serves to showcase the enormous disconnect Sony suffers with their consumers. Featuring abysmal “rap” performed by 29-year-olds who want their “parents” to buy them a PSP just doesn’t work, on any level. In fact, it’s downright creepy.

Watch what’s started to happen in the comments section of the blog itself:

Tell your friend Jeremy to get a Wii instead. Not only is it more fun, but the company that makes it, Nintendo, doesn’t degrade and insult its target mar_ket like Sony does with garbage like this.

I previously disliked Sony because of their poor-quality pr_oducts, but now I am thoroughly offended that they would do something as low as this. I will be sure to pass along word of this site and what Sony has allowed their mar_keting agency to do anytime I hear any of friends or relatives express plans to purchase a pr_oduct from Sony.
Comment By Cosmos At 12/11/2006 4:42 PM

(Those underscores are to bypass the commenting system’s filter on the words “market” and “product”, by the way.) The internet is a ridiculously powerful tool. Just as quickly as a community can be energized and empower a new, funny or otherwise worthwhile destination, they can rapidly slice through brand equity and out poor marketing attempts for the insulting drivel they are.

Kotaku commenter Ninegauger sums it up the best: “My first clue was that nobody actually wants a PSP.” And there we find the root of the problem: A product nobody is interested in, and a company desperate to force it down our throats, cocky and rich enough to attempt to do just that.

alliwantforxmasisapsp | Kotaku’s Take | Something Awful Forum Thread | Zipatoni, marketing firm oh-so-glad for contracts.

Latest Gear Live Videos



Commenting is not available in this channel entry.