Thoughts on the PSP graphitti

by Samm Bennett
While I'm glad Sony has finally confessed that they were behind the graphitti and that building owners were being compensated, I'm still not sure if everything was legitimate. I live in Philadelphia and I saw a sticker of the artwork on a subway window. I don't see why Septa would do this, and, as such, I don't think Septa allowed it.
With respect to the idea itself, i think it's pretty lame. In Philadelphia, most graphitti is crap with no meaning behind it. As a result, it has a very negative connotation and is a genuine problem. Furthermore, since most graphitti is done in the poorer sections, it makes me think that people who would really connect to the graphitti (those who do it themselves) usually are not in a financial situation to purchase one. However, I have no facts to really back that up other than my experience gained coming from such a neighborhood. I do think the Sony's execs attempting to hijack a counter-culture to promote their product is an even greater offense than if they had illegally done the graphitti. Some things just cannot be purchased.
The artwork itself is also pointless. I don't think anyone will decide they want a PSP because they noticed it was cleverly made to look like a skateboard on someone's wall (which just looks awful btw). People will buy the PSP for games. Sony needs to understand this. The PSP is sorely lacking game titles, but instead of making games Sony keeps pushing out overpriced UMD movies while attempting to destroy homebrew. Nevermind the fact that if they embraced the homebrew scene PSP sales would be astronomical, but the fact that they wasted money on this crappy advertisement scheme instead of investing in game development is quite annoying. I know this is turning into a rant now, but really, how about some more games for my PSP that do not involve cars?
Sony's timing with this promotion couldn't have been worse. While Sony BMG is run seperately, most people hear Sony and assume they are the same. Given the recent rootkit/DRM fiasco, Sony's public image has people believing Sony is attempting to go beyond the law. Hence why many beleived that Sony had done the artwork illegally and further suggesting that Sony is a company that does not care for its customers. I hate to say it, but Microsoft did excellent work with its viral advertising. It was hidden and had puzzles to it. It made people genuinely excited about the product by getting them involved. Sony's attempt is an eyesore that is just there, instead of being something new and clever. In order for viral advertising to work, you need to do more than attempt to bring billboards underground.