Tuesday, June 29, 2010

All I Want For Xmas is a PSP

Welcome to yet another thrilling Sony fail. Today let's touch on Sony's attempt at viral marketing. Don't remember it? It was a YouTube/blogsite where a guy produced a music video singing "All I want for xmas is a PSP." No? Here, let me refresh your memory:

They had a website at alliwantforxmasisapsp.com, too. Don't even try to look, it's gone. After the backlash from their target audience, that site got ripped down and all vids of it erased. This is a glimpse into a past that Sony wishes it could forget.

It's really just so sad. In their desperate attempt to figure out who their target is and how best to communicate with them, they make the same huge mistake: labeling them. Stop it. The younger Gen Y and the Millenial crowd do NOT like being labeled, more so than any other group. Any attempt to market to them should be made without making an assumption on who they are as a group. Crazy, I know, but it can work (I'll get into that more in later posts on successful campaigns targeting this group).

To the target audience, watching this guy prance around is an insult - and a pathetic one at that. It's a marketer trying to pose as one of them, and trust me: they noticed. Don't believe me? Check out this high-rated YouTube comment on the above vid:
I swear these corporate fuckheads think we're all idiots. I'm glad we were able to preserve this bogus bullshit. They'll never be able to live it down.

The general reaction was resentment. Plus, there were little tidbits posted on their blog like this[1]:

"don't just wear it – pwn it!!1!"

"our boy Cousin Pete 'rapped up these crazy beatz and rhymes & put them under our tree! much luv and thx, pete."

"this original "all I want for xmas is a psp" jam is bound to be a cla$$ic!"

If you're over 35, you could probably use the following info: they don't talk like that. If the video wasn't enough to cue the audience in, it's this shit that puts it over the top. What was the result? People screaming "Poe" everywhere. With the site and videos being so blatantly called out as fake, Sony pulled it all down in shame.

It was an ill-advised attempt at viral marketing, which has become "all the rage" in the advertising industry ever since The Blair Witch Project. Viral marketing is a tricky thing. Most attempts at pulling the 'faux ad' type of campaign after Blair Witch flat out fail. As people become more internet savvy, they also become more adept at sniffing out posers. So is viral marketing bust? No, as long as you don't take yourself seriously. Humor and tongue-in-cheek tend to do well. Take Burger King's Subservient Chicken. It wasn't a faux ad, it was just this fun little thing to share ... brought to you by Burger King (Have it your way).

With all these horrendous advertising attempts, you'd think Sony would have learned a few hard lessons, and moved forward with their new applied knowledge on what NOT to do. Sadly, they didn't take to heart that whole racism is bad lesson they should have learned from the PSP Squirrels campaign.

But fear not, all you Sony lovers out there. They do eventually get it together and put out some great campaigns, which I'll go over in a post all its own.

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