Sony Ad Controversy Working
Posted by jgaudiosi :: Legal
Whether it was done intentionally (and I doubt marketers didn't foresee this controversy) or not, the new ceramic white PSP ads that Sony has posted on billboards in the Netherlands has been making headlines all week. After taking Europe by storm, the controversy has now reached the U.S., even though the ads in question are not being deployed here. There's no such thing as bad publicity, and PSP is now receiving more attention, courtesy of the racially-charged ad, than it was before. The timing just happens to coincide with the launch of Nintendo DS Lite, which is selling out in every region it has launched.
Usual suspects like California Assembleyman Leland Yee, the politician who's on a crusade to ban all violent videogames despite the First Amendment, have entered the fray in the U.S., along with the NAACP. The more politicians that jump into this debate about foreign advertising, the more consumers here about PSP and the new ceramic white PSP. Just look at what the "Grand Theft Auto" stories have done for sales of that game franchise over the years. It's the old adage with kids. Tell them they can't see something, and they'll do everything in their power to see it.
Regardless of what one thinks of the ad, it's done its job. People are talking about the ad and PSP--not just in the country of origin, but throughout Europe, the U.S. and Japan. That's advertising 101. Post something controversial and the media will come running.
In the past, Sony has used traditional ads that focus on "Live in Your World, Play in Ours." They have never been involved in a controversy, especially when it comes to selling hardware. (We're not talking about a game here, but a new white PSP.) But in the past, Sony has never been in a second place position in games. They've always been the leader.
Right now, they're losing the game war on two fronts. Nintendo is dominating the portable space with Game Boy Advance SP and Nintendo DS. And Microsoft is gaining a large head-start with Xbox 360 in the next generation battleground. Many experts believe Nintendo Wii will come in second place this time around. That puts Sony in a position it has never been in before. And perhaps that's why they resorted to this ad controversy to get some publicity out for PSP in a time when most gamers are clamoring around Nintendo DS Lite.