I'm thinking Sony is up to their old tricks again. Although even if they aren't, I don't care. Who cares if it's by them or not? It's well done.
It's been a rough little life for the PSP. Besides introducing and subsequently retiring the doomed UMD format, Sony's sleek portable has been the focus of more than a few advertising gaffes. In 2005, Sony received a good talking to from several major American cities for using graffiti artists to tag buildings with stylized PSP imagery. The following year, a racially charged billboard for a new PSP color appeared in The Netherlands. How'd they try to get their message across? A photo of a white person violently grabbing a black person, of course. Still more, a few months later Sony took to the Internet with a series of viral videos made by thoroughly fake bloggers who wanted a PSP for Christmas. A shame, really, when you consider how great the system actually is.
After all this, I figured Sony would be done with the guerrilla marketing that's earned them so much criticism over the past few years. Then I saw this:
I snapped this photo from the roof of the building I was staying in last week in Berlin's Mitte neighborhood. What is it, exactly? Here's a closer look, condensed below:
If you're still a little uncertain, that's a picture of a Godzilla-like creature battling PSP-headed robots in front of a skyline dominated by two massive PS3s. It's a little on the abstract side, but the products depicted here are unmistakeably Sony. Seeing this got me wondering whether Sony's up to their old tricks in distant corners of the world (like the former Eastern Bloc), or if this is authentic urban artwork.
There are a few ways of looking at it. The quality of the artwork is excellent, the size is massive (that's probably a 4 story building), and the whole thing just has a professional sheen that makes you think big advertising dollars are behind this. But on the other side of the coin, Berlin is an artistic hotspot where random sightings of strikingly well-done artwork are fairly common. And it's not as if the mural is telling you how awesome PSPs and PS3s are. Those robots look pretty disgusting and you really have to know what the vents and inputs on the back of a PS3 look like to even tell what those two things in the background are.
I'm not sure either way. At the very least, it's a visually pleasing piece of design work that doesn't insult anyone's intelligence with its desire to be edgy and viral like some of Sony's earlier advertising work. It's just a nice looking mural that's currently serving as my desktop image. But still: the fact that I'm even talking about it means it could very well be a viral (and therefore successful) piece of marketing.
What do you guys think? Sony advertising or random, abstract urban graffiti?
It looks professional. But wheres the controversy in this AKA Why would people talk about this. How come this is the only instance of the campaign. Viral marketing wou ld litter the city with this "graffiti" Either way its advertising.
I was going to throw in with this being Sony's doing anyway, but after reading what dannyodwyer said, I'd say 100% not graffiti. I never really thought about how they would get it onto the wall, since here in Melbourne we have graffiti writing in the most absurd places you can imagine. Somehow they find a way. But either way, even though it's a little less overt, and it could be argued that it's a critique of Sony (taking over the world), it could also be argued that it's a promotion for the exact same reason. And casting aside any notion of artistic integrity, whoever done this is on the bankroll. Surely there'd be a way to find out? Via the city council or something? I don't suppose anyone reading this article is German by any chance...
that graffiti is incredible! wish I could do something like that! i don't know though. I think it's just random graffitti.
im with you upinflames! a bit of cheeky advertising is always good. plus it looks excellent. i would never have looked at it closely enough to spot the ps3s!!!
Great find, but 100% Advertising (from an old graffiti hound). Graffiti is as illegal in Germany as anywhere else, and that bad boy was too close to the road to be done in dark. I doubt 2 taggers went to the dangerous effort of setting up a ladder on a slanted corrigated iron roof too and even with stencils that peice has about 7 layers, and the blue robot is in 2 seperate ones. More importantly it doesnt have a tag on it. Who would go to such effort in a dangerous spot and not bother signing it.
I am going with random graffiti, if Sony was behind this then they would probably make it more obvious to the viewers eye.
It's probably Sony. I usually don't give the company the benefit of the doubt in cases like these. The old Wii Fit girl video, though, I don't believe was Nintendo.
Either way, it looks pretty awesome. If it is advertising, I wish all advertising was this pleasing to the eye.
But even if what you say is true, is Sony really the one to blame? Sorry for the double post, for some reason I am not able to edit blog comments.
Perhaps I'd agree if it wasn't a European ad where black/white racial tension simply isn't such a big deal as in America. Nevermind that [url=http://www.joystiq.com/media/2006/07/sony_whiteiscoming_web_2.jpg]this[/url] isn't near as "violent" as [url=http://www.joystiq.com/media/2006/07/sony_whiteiscoming_web_3a.jpg]this[/url].
I agree, the PSP was a device with such great potential but many set backs have just made it slug along. If MORE developers made better games with it, then the system would be great. Though it was doomed from the start with the UMD format and of course that damn Nintendo DS that everyone and their Grandmother has two of.;)
Thraxen: That's something I readily admit in the post. If it is a viral ad, it's successful insofar as we're here talking about it. But my point is that it isn't nearly as slap-you-in-the-face obvious as some of their prior attempts. Flames: I think that PSP ad was a perfect example of a "manufactured event," where they knew the one billboard would be taken out of context and turned into a big fuss. It was a ham-fisted attempt at creating controversy, nothing more, nothing less.
Shaun, if this is viral marketing, you have done exactly what Sony wanted you to do. This is abstract enough that most people who see it in person are going to miss the PSPs and PS3's in the picture. Directly, this is not going to get all that many people to buy (or think about) PlayStation products, but the controversy (read: publicity) created by people posting it on the Internet will. (And anyone who thinks that Sony is the only company that does this sort of thing is awfully naive.)
I don't really get all the heat that Sony's marketing gets. In such a pathetically boring, politically correct industry where developers proudly exclaim how they "work together" with ratings boards, some controversy is desperately welcome as far as I'm concerned. Sony's marketing is miles ahead of anything Microsoft and especially Nintendo have managed to conjur up. Also, the black and white PSP campaign was taken completely out of context. Much fuss was made about a single billboard which depicted a white woman violenty grabbing a black woman, but billboards which depicted the opposite (there were multiple variations) were totally ignored. Sensationalist journalism at its best.