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sony_PSP.jpgAs British Statesman and Philosopher Edmund Burke noted, “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.”
Sony is repeating an advertising mistake made in 2001 by IBM. To promote the Sony Play Station Portable (PSP) the company hired graffiti artists in major urban areas to spray-paint buildings with simple, totemic images of kids playing with the gadget. Reactions to the ads are more negative than positive, and accuse the company of trying to buy street cred, according to Wired.
The PSP images contain no words, no logos and no product references. They show a bunch of kids playing with the PSP as if it were a skateboard, puppet, paddle or ice cream bar.
sony_solved.jpgThe fact that the PSP ads follow the very recent widely publicized news that Sony music CDs infected customers’ computers with security-hole-inducing spyware, has likely fueled public dislike for the graffiti campaign. The company needs to find a way to temper the image damage created by the stupidly conceived spyware, and the PSP campaign isn’t it.
A flickr gallery called Fony Playstation illustrates how critics in San Francisco have expressed their disapproval by adding some spray paint of their own to the Sony ads.
In 2001, IBM paid Chicago and San Francisco more than $120,000 in fines and clean-up costs after Ogilvy & Mather, its advertising agency, used biodegradable chalk to spray paint Linux advertisements on the cities’ sidewalks as part of a “Love, Peace & Linux” campaign.