You may or may not be aware of Sony's recent attempt to generate a grassroots campaign for their PSP. The whole thing was ridiculously obvious because the marketing company that was hired was incapable of using 13375p34k properly. That's right, what they generated was a hideous abomination of a hideous abomination.

Below is an analysis of on of the "blog" posts from the offending website. It should become very obvious that A) using ur and luv does not a 1337 g3m4r make and B) I know way too much about 13375p34k, gamers and the internet.

Begin analysis.

You don't need to have spent years on the internet to know that when someone makes common mistakes/shortcuts like luv and ur, they don't do it halfway. You'll never see the following sentence on the internet by someone doing it unintentionally.

Hello everyone, I was just thinking that ur all going to luv my latest blog entry.

This sentence of my creation highlights something everyone who's ever used IRC, read Barrens chat, or hacked the e-mail of a 14 year old knows. People who use ur and luv and similar shortcuts and mispellings will not be using proper punctuation, spelling and grammar. It doesn't happen.

Yet, here is what we have from the website. I will be pointlessly dissecting it.

here's the deal::: i (charlie) have a psp. my friend jeremy does not. but he wants one this year for xmas.

People do not use colons on the internet. That key is the jaded and lost son of the realm of QWERTY. People also make assumptions, assumptions such as their identity being well known. They won't be specifying that they are "charlie", you should already know that. If you don't, you're a noob. Jeremy fails to be derided for not having a PSP. Lastly, no one speaking like this would specify "this year", or type "one" out. Number keys are there 4 a reason.

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!

No one on the internet can spell subtle, let alone know where to use hyphens. A common thing to notice is the use of larger words here were smaller ones would have sufficed. "started" could be "were" or "did". "created" is two syllabels longer than "made". The last sentence would more improperly be "we maed this site 2 giv luv 4 u who want a psp liek j!"

consider us your own personal psp hype machine, here to help you wage a holiday assault on ur parents, girl, granny, boss -- whoever -- so they know what you really want.

Again with the long words. Very few words over 2 syllabels are in the common lexicon on the internet. "consider", "personal", "holiday", "whoever", all unknown to the internet mind. Again with the hyphens as well. There are no "girl"s on the internet, only "gf"s, and when was the last time we saw "granny"? What kid this supposed age would have a "boss"?

we'll let you know how it works for us. pls return the favor.

more to come,

Anyone who uses ur is not going to type out "you". "you" is four characters too many as it is. Also, the kind of comraderie shown in this last sentiment is completely foreign. This is the internet, not a high tea. There are no favors, there are only noobs and 1337 h4x.

Ironically, this horribly conceived effort at joining the netizens was least among the symptoms of the greater evil. Very quickly enterprising people spent all of five minutes finding the administrative contacts of the website, linking them to a marketing company, and matching up employee pictures to the people on the website. Almost as soon as the website was up the jig was up.

I wasn't originally going to blab about any of this, were it not for Sony's "apology" or "confession" contained below.

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

I would like to take the opportunity to rail against this.

Firstly, many is a small reckoning. 99% of people aware of the website found out, instantly. The other 1% saw that everyone else had figured it out already and moved on to other things.

Secondly, stop. You weren't cool before, you aren't cool now. Your speech wasn't too funky fresh, in fact I can't think of anyone describing "ur", "luv" and similar shortcuts as such. No, your speech as a baldfaced attempt at pretending to be something you weren't and you failed miserably. Lets look at that again, you failed miserably to mispell words. That just boggles the mind.

Thirdly, it was deathly obvious from that incredible mind-destroying "rap" video that Peter was not, in fact a hip-hop maven. If you survived the video anyway.

Fourthly, a mere cursory look at the webpage immediately screams "marketing". Even Xbox 360 fansites don't plaster system related imagery everywhere like that.

Fifthly, it's not that you were trying to be a little too clever, it's that you A) went out of your way to lie to us and B) failed utterly and completely to fool anyone but yourselves.

Sixthly, your initial product (the webpage) wasn't cool. Making a cool product is a prerequisite to continue making cool products. I can't say I'll continue running away from you screaming at the horror of your creations unless I had already begun my speedy trek in a direction orthogonal to you.

Lastly, it's too late. Who with any sense whatsoever is going to believe anything you say from this point onward? We're supposed to get "just the facts" from a website whose initial point and purpose was an intentional and intricate deception? Snowball's chance on an overclocked CPU.

As an addendum, the worst part of the apology is that they still tried to act cool. When I apologize to someone for a trangression, I do not act as I normally do. My wit, jokes, sarcasm, jolly nature and other attributes are pushed aside because apologies and confessions are serious business. This is especially true when trying to reestablish someone's trust after something as destructive as a lie. Yet Sony, signing as Sony Computer Entertainment America no less, did not cut the crap and continued in part their charade even as they confessed.

I'm of the opinion that whoever is in charge of Sony's PR and marketing needs to be fired, around eight months ago. There hasn't been a single piece of good news generated by Sony's own PR machine starting May 2006 during and after E3. Things that could have been excellent news were lukewarm, and things that might have been only minor issues spiralled uncontrolled into whirlwinds of bad press. This is just another lead pipe on a thoroughly crushed camel.

Sony need to get their PR act together, because ultimately it's going to hurt them severely if they don't. It shouldn't be this hard to market the incumbent.

1 comment:

jocelyn said...

Good commentary on a horribly failed marketing campaign.

What you've picked up on is something I actually read about in Seth Godin's book "All Marketers are Liars." One of the premises of the book is that in order to market effectively, you have to tell a consistent story from start to finish. Sony wasn't trying to tell a cool story about its cool product--it was blatantly trying to deceive its customers, which we don't appreciate. And you're right--once you've broken trust with a consumer, it's dangerous and difficult to get it back.