Question: What should Sony do to increase demand for its first foray into the handheld console market, the PSP??Ç¬†
Answer: Go with viral marketing.
Unfortunately whereas their competitors have employed viral marketing to great effect, Sony has encountered a problem.
Sony it appears employed the good people at zipatoni.com to create a ?¢‚Ç¨?ìbuzz?¢‚Ç¨¬ù for their handheld console and try and get the public hyped up about a console, which by all accounts is not doing too well (especially now that UMD, the format Sony was using to play movies on the PSP has all but died).?Ç¬†
Under the guise of two friends trying to get a PSP from relatives for Christmas, they created a website and blog (alliwantforxmasisapsp.com/blog) which included PSP orientated greeting cards, T-shirt iron-on patterns to print out and YouTube videos featuring songs about the system.
This may have been fine if it was not for the fact that this website claimed that it had nothing to do with Sony.?Ç¬† Instead the two hosts of the website claimed that the website was created to put pressure on their relatives to buy them PSP?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s for Christmas.?Ç¬†
The two hosts, who if the pictures of them on the site are real, appear to be in their twenties (I could be wrong but there is a lot of facial hair). Why would these two men go to such lengths just so that their relatives could buy them a PSP??Ç¬†
As is often the case with the Internet, it was not long until gamers on the Something Awful message boards thought something was wrong and a simple WHOIS search revealed that the domain was in fact owned by Zipatoni, an ad agency specializing in “interruptive buzz marketing.”
The blog quickly was inundated with negative comments and abuse informing Zipatoni that they had been sussed out.?Ç¬†
Unfortunately for the gamers they found that certain words had been blocked.?Ç¬† Among the various obscenities that had been blocked were words such as ?¢‚Ç¨?ìviral?¢‚Ç¨¬ù, ?¢‚Ç¨?ìmarketing?¢‚Ç¨¬ù and ?¢‚Ç¨?ìZipatoni.?¢‚Ç¨¬ù?Ç¬† Surely that was just a coincidence?
The hosts of the website replied back to the negative comments in the typical street and internet slang that adorned the pages of the site but after a flood of bad feedback and bad publicity they were forced to own up.?Ç¬†
They stated: ?¢‚Ç¨?ìfrom 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.”
The site has now been replaced with a blank page.?Ç¬† It may not have been the most successful of ad campaigns but surely they generated publicity for their product.?Ç¬† As the old adage says, ?¢‚Ç¨?ìThere?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s no such thing as bad publicity.?¢‚Ç¨¬ù?Ç¬†
As of time of posting: alliwantforxmasisapsp.com appears to be offline.
References for this posting: Sony’s Failed PSP Viral Marketing Stunt