Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
December 14, 2006 7:35 AM

Sony PlayStation - Zipatoni Fake Blog For PSP - Day Three

Shankar Gupta over at MediaPost reports today in his article, Sony Confesses To Creating 'Flog,' Shutters Comments, that:

"Sony Wednesday released a statement acknowledging that the blog was phony. 'Sony Computer Entertainment America developed alliwantforxmasisapsp.com as a humorous site targeting those interested in getting a PSP system this holiday season,' it read. 'We've now added a posting that provides this clarification to consumers visiting the site.' The company did not comment further."

Here's the Blog posting from All I Want For Xmas Is A PSP:

"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. - Sony Computer Entertainment America."

Still no word on my end from Meredith Goette at Zipatoni.

I'm disappointed and sad on many levels.

1. I wish that Zipatoni had come forward sooner. If Sony can muster up the powers-that-be to get a statement out, there's no reason why Zipatoni could not.

2. I fear that fake Blogs are actually becoming a valuable marketing opportunity. They get tons of press and publicity at a fairly cheap budget (I know, but at what cost to integrity?).

3. I fear that we're getting numb to hearing about fake Blogs and, because of this, it will become acceptable.

4. I have hopes that these types of non-transparent acts will not tarnish Social Media and will not quell the passions of online dialogue and community building around brands that we love.

5. I wonder what this will do to the reputation of Zipatoni? If nothing happens and it's business as usual as advertisers continue to use their services, that's sad. If this incident has tremendous ramifications on the company and the people that work there, then that's sad too. I'm sure Zipatoni is full of creative and passionate marketers who will now become part of the collateral damage.

6. If Sony asked Zipatoni to do this, that's sad. If Zipatoni pitched this as an idea to Sony, that's sadder.

I'm still interested in hearing from Zipatoni. Let's see if they will agree to discuss what happened.

You can read the back-story here:

- Sony PlayStation Goes Fake Blog For PSP - How Does This Happen?

- Sony PlayStation - Zipatoni Fake Blog For PSP - Day Two.

By Mitch Joel


Comments Comments Feed
  • And all this happens right after many people at the WOMMA conference said ethics and morals are key in word-of-mouth:

    Ted Leonsis from AOL: WoM marketers " have an inherent responsibility to be honest and ethical with consumers." (MediaPost's OnlineMedia Daily, Dec 13, 2006)

    Andy Sernovitz from WOMMA: "Sernovitz said it was essential to drum out unethical marketers from the word-of-mouth marketing space before the practice is grouped under a single undesirable term, the way e-mail marketing became "spam." (MediaPost's OnlineMedia Daily, Dec 13, 2006)

    Reply
  • Posted by Marc Snyder
    Mitch Joel

    There is *one* acceptable reason why Zipatoni hasn't commented: Sony ordered them to shut up.

    Scenario: someone at Sony isn't totally clueless, advised colleagues to cut ties with Zipatni's strategy, advised them to apologize and to shut Zipatoni up. Not saying that happened, just that it could have.

    MS

    Reply
  • Posted by Duane Brown
    Mitch Joel

    To me a flog is like an actor doing something like, oh I don't know, losing their phone and having it get hacked. It's the only way you know how to get publicity because the people you hired don't know the rules of engagement well enough to be creative and innovate to get publicity without sinking to the lowest common dominator. They just want to be like everyone else and not take a risk of any kind and that, IMHO, is sad.

    I do hope the reputation of Zipatoni is hurt because of this event, otherwise they won't learn a thing. Then all these other companies will think this is ok, when its not. You can't learn what success feels like until you've failed.

    Reply
  • Posted by Duane Brown
    Mitch Joel

    FYI; Zipatoni and Sony has replied to Next-Gen, an industry pub:

    http://www.next-gen.biz/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4397&Itemid=2

    Not the greatest Marketing/PR at work here.

    Reply
  • Posted by MosquitoControl
    Mitch Joel

    I must agree in hoping this hurts Zipatoni.

    The company is embarrassing. Their corporate website is full of non-sensical buzzterms. Then there's this:
    http://www.zipatoni.com/yourehired/

    The most offensive part of this page is "Legal B^lls#!t." Do they really think that the type of websurfer interested in bringing them new clientele will be impressed that the company is so casual it pretends to swear?

    Combine that with all the misused lingo on the alliwantisapsp website, which was at best a failed attempt at parody and at worst a failed attempt to be "cool," and you've got a company that is entirely out of touch with reality, and with its target demographic.

    Dangerously out of touch.

    The internal memo from their CEO that leaked was interesting as well. They claimed:
    1) This was all going according to plan.
    2) Sony knew the plan and thought this reaction was hysterical.
    3) The reaction was "polarized."
    4) The site being mentioned in blogs is a good thing.
    5) Zipatoni being mentioned in blogs is a good thing.

    In reverse order, operating under the impression that "all publicity is good publicity" is frightening coming from an advertising agency, "polarized" only works if there are multiple viewpoints in nearly equal proportion, this was more "universally alienated," if Sony was ok with this why was everything pulled, and if this was the plan why wasn't it more obvious from the beginning?


    It's one of the largest marketing failures of the year.
    But keep in mind it is for the same product that has given us (another list!):
    1) Corporate-sponsored graffiti in major American cities, sparking public outcry,
    2) Quasi-racist squirrel commercials, sparking public outcry, and
    3) Quasi-racist UK billboards, sparking public outcry.

    Is it any surprise that it's losing major ground to the Nintendo rival every day?

    Reply
  • Posted by Bill Hunt
    Mitch Joel

    It seems fake weblogs are all the rage this holiday season. Even BMW are at it - http://www.bmwe36blog.com/ puports to be written by 'Tony Sticks' who "recently purchased" ... "this cool addition to the BMW range". Oh please.

    Interestingly, the domain is registered not to Tony Sticks, but to software developer 'Bassam Jarad' who likes posting spam to messageboards: http://www.epanorama.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=38346&sid=4726529911d08a811dcda89b8ecf6b14.

    Come on BMW, you can do better than that!

    Reply
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