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Sony Paid for Fake PSP Graffiti? 129

Posted by Zonk
from the no-shame dept.
Eli Gottlieb writes "It would appear that the Sony Corporation (known for their world-class rootkits) paid graffitists to paint pictures of children using their new PSPs on city walls. Sony "artists" (corporate operatives?) have even been caught in the act of painting advertising campaigns on public walls. Note that these are not paid-for billboards or advertising media, but illegal graffiti in the first place. Beyond that, Sony is attempting to co-opt the subculture and possibly even artistic integrity of real graffists to sell more PSPs! Luckily, people have started to paint back and show that corporate vandals are not welcome." Though it does appear the vandal depicted is copying the image off of a sheet of paper, there's no real proof of Sony's complicity. Take with a grain of salt.
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Sony Paid for Fake PSP Graffiti?

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  • Sounds familiar... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by haunebu (16326) * on Sunday December 04, 2005 @06:51AM (#14177589) Homepage
    Remember the whole IBM/Linux graffiti fiasco [cnn.com]?
  • Any word on Sony actually being tied to this? I mean, yes it's highly unlikely that anyone would promote the PSP other than Sony, but I'm curious if this was a decision they actually approved or supported.
    • Conclusive (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 04, 2005 @09:29AM (#14177918)
      The graffiti characters all match, despite having been done by different artists. They're what marketers call "on message."

      The idea that multiple graffiti artists in different locations simultaneously designed the same PSP using characters and then.... it's so laughable I can't even finish that sentence.

      As long as these photographs are genuine, there is *no* way that this isn't centrally coordinated. I suppose it's possible some fanboys might have decided to promote the PSP this way, but it doesn't really seem like fanboy behaviour. It's too organized and the graphic design is too well done.

      Nintendo occasionally gets that kind of grass-roots support, but only for their legendary characters, not for a current product shot. Two story Mario 1 mural, sure. Nintendo DS graffiti, no.

      • Re:Conclusive (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        This may not be graffiti, but I'm sure many people remember these Nintendo fanboys 4 story work of art [yikes.com].
      • The pictures on the site were taken in San Francisco. I live in atlanta and ride my bicycle to classes daily. I can confirm that there are several of the same pictures here. There are a few in a small district called Little 5 points. A sort of trendy urban punk place, and a few more about a mile or so down the road towards the city on Edgewood Ave. So i doubt its fanboys across the nation using the exact same logo.
    • Not sure if they've done anything illegal though because I think it turns out that Sony paid people to graffiti on their property:

      http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,69741,00. html?tw=wn_tophead_1/ [wired.com]

      Wonder if Sony will pay to clean up all the ad-jamming attempts as well?

    • I read elsewhere (wired [wired.com] maybe- check the last sentence of the article linked) that Sony was doing this but they were renting the walls. Personally, I thought it was clever but could see how it could backfire.
  • by the_unknown_soldier (675161) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @07:52AM (#14177716)
    This sounds like a repeat of the XBOX launch. In my city (melbourne) Microsoft spray painted a lot of streets with the green "X" logo, causing a huge fuss in the media about it being graffitti. Seems companies never learn....
  • by Anonymous Coward
    "... people have started to paint back and show that corporate vandals are not welcome."

    You mean "competing vandals have started to paint back", surely?

    Or do you mean that vandalising is OK as long as it's not done for profit? If so, grow the fuck up.
    • Or do you mean that vandalising is OK as long as it's not done for profit?

      No, it's not OK, but normally, illegal tags are created by bored (and possibly stupid) kids who mark their territories like dogs pissing on corners. What exactly is Sony's excuse for behaving like that?

      • Having known more than a handful of taggers and sticker-slappers in my time, I assure you that not all of them are stupid, and hardly any of them were bored. Often, specifically with 'message' pieces, the artists (and yes, they are artists, no matter how illegal their work may be) are doing what they can do to 'speak out' against any number of social ills and injustices. The gang tags that you are likely referring to are inconsequential in this argument, as not everyone with a bag of paints and a roll of
        • I know. I used to spray murals, too, a few years ago. I was talking about the tags (the smaller paintings which are usually done in one color and contain not a lot more than the name of the person doing it), not about murals. Even though I'll be the first to freely admit that painting murals - especially on private property - is really stupid (whether the one doing it is smart or not), and had I been caught, I sure as hell wouldn't have complained about it.

          Sony's stupid little crappy pictures are clearly n

          • Sony's ads are not vandalism. They paid the property owners for the right to paint on thier walls. The only vandals are the ones who defaced the art.

            The Sony ads are no different than a billboard. I would much rather look at the ads than a billboard though.
            • It's possible that Sony paid for some of them (but even that is disputed), but definitely not for all of them. Some of the pictures are clearly in public places which do not belong to any private entity.

              • In any real journalism and not trash talking blogs, it is admitted that Sony paid for the use of Private walls. In no case have I seen any images that would have been bridges or Overpasses or other Public Works. Nor have I seen any that were government office buildings. Just because a building is seen in public does not make it Public.
    • competing vandals ARE PEOPLE!

      they're PEOPLE!
  • Double standards (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mcgroarty (633843) <brian,mcgroarty&gmail,com> on Sunday December 04, 2005 @09:25AM (#14177912) Homepage
    Slashdotters were all cheering and happy when IBM sent guys around at night, painting those "Peace, Love and Linux" icons all over sidewalks what -- coopting pacifist culture? Is this another example of selective outrate where it's not what's done that gets people mad, but who's doing it?
    • by moonbender (547943) <moonbender@gmai l . com> on Sunday December 04, 2005 @09:48AM (#14177970)
      First of all, yes, that's right, I'll reserve the right to be selectively outraged depending on what's being sprayed. I'm outraged at swastika graffiti, not so much at actual pictures. What's being sprayed is very much part of "what's done", who's doing it is really not relevant. Reading the CNN story [cnn.com] about the IBM graffitis that's also linked at the top of this thread, the IBM graffitis were really inconspicious, and sprayed on the sidewalks which certainly aren't as critical as building walls. Most importantly though, they were made from chalk: "It washes right off, so it will be removed the next time it rains." Total non-issue.
      • Most importantly though, they were made from chalk: "It washes right off, so it will be removed the next time it rains." Total non-issue.

        The IBM graffiti may have been chalk-based but they sure as hell didn't wash off after one rain. The Boston-area ones were around for at least 18 months, in a city with no shortage of rain and snow.

      • Most importantly though, they were made from chalk: "It washes right off, so it will be removed the next time it rains." Total non-issue.

        Look for the next story about it. They didn't wash off. You had to scrub like hell, and if you didn't they stayed untill they wore off. They were intended to come right off, but they blew it.
      • Re:Double standards (Score:2, Interesting)

        by uofitorn (804157)
        I completely agree. At the University where I work at near downtown Chicago, I still see GTA San Andreas stickers on my commute to work (stuck to streetlamps, mailboxes, etc.) years after the game came out. The chalk IBM layed is certainly more ephemeral than the GTA stickers. I've noticed workers struggling to remove them but they usually give up after a while and let them remain.
      • Re:Double standards (Score:3, Informative)

        by scheme (19778)

        Reading the CNN story about the IBM graffitis that's also linked at the top of this thread, the IBM graffitis were really inconspicious, and sprayed on the sidewalks which certainly aren't as critical as building walls. Most importantly though, they were made from chalk: "It washes right off, so it will be removed the next time it rains." Total non-issue.

        I still see some of the IBM linux graffiti here in Chicago. The rain and snow that it's experienced in the last 4 years doesn't seem to have washed it of

    • Is this another example of selective outrate where it's not what's done that gets people mad, but who's doing it?

      It's a balance of who, what, and why. Some 15 year old punk doesn't get up from a bus seat to let an 80 year old invalid sit down, most people would find that rude. Rosa Parks doesn't get up from a bus seat...
       
    • Slashdotters were all cheering and happy when IBM sent guys around at night, painting those "Peace, Love and Linux" icons all over sidewalks
      Like hell we were. It was vandalism that unfairly placed a financial burden on the community then and it's the same thing now. That Sony are stupid enough to be doing this when there are a hojillion little spotlights pointed at them is hard to believe. Frankly, Sony are becoming the new SCO.
      • Only the those who defaced Sony's art are vandals. Sony rented those walls. This is definately a case where blogs do not do as well as real journalism.
    • It is even more of a double standard when you find out that Sony actually paid to paint those walls. Of course you would have to get you news from elsewhere that does not have as much of an axe to grind, to find out about that part.
  • Like MSN in 2002 (Score:5, Informative)

    by NoSuchGuy (308510) <do-not-harvest-m ... dot@spa.mtrap.de> on Sunday December 04, 2005 @10:06AM (#14178020) Journal
    For the launch [clickz.com] of MSN 8 there were the MSN butterflies everywhere. Here are some pics. [altterrain.com]
  • I presume it's the same everywhere but our city centre streets are continually blighted by illegal posters for records & tours etc.

    Here's one such story with an Iron Maiden poster

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/london/ 4376267.stm [bbc.co.uk]

    The big record companies pay organised criminal gangs to ruin our streets and then WE have to pay to have it cleared up.

    Makes me sick
  • by SleepyHappyDoc (813919) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @10:29AM (#14178083)
    Between this and the rootkit, it's obvious Sony doesn't give a flying fuck about anyone's rights. Not the rights of the owners of the property they are vandalising, not the rights of the owners of the computers they rootkitted, and not their customers. They just don't care. At this point, if all the prepaid PS3 orders come in as boxes filled with paper mache, it wouldn't completely surprise me. No ethics at all.
  • by PhotoBoy (684898) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @10:47AM (#14178135)
    ... that Sony paid for this. I mean it's the same looking characters holding PSPs appearing in cities all over the US. If it's not Sony then these are some really dedicated PSP owners out there pushing the brand.

    Then again, given the lack of decent games and homebrew on the PSP I'm sure these guys have plenty of spare time to use in trekking across the country shilling for Sony. :p
  • I think this was reported about a couple weeks back on This Week In Tech or somewhere else (not sure where). Although the link to Sony wasn't very clear then either.

    I wouldn't be surprised if this was true though. The PSP marketing blitz hasn't done them much good, so I guess they're thinking a grass-roots / subliminal campaign might be a better option than in your face advertising.
  • Luckily, indeed... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Otter (3800) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @11:01AM (#14178194) Journal
    Luckily, people have started to paint back and show that corporate vandals are not welcome.

    No offense, assholes, but your vandalism is unwelcome, corporate or otherwise.

  • Of course... (Score:2, Interesting)

    ...I personally wouldn't put it past a different company competing with Sony (say MS, who just had a big product launch, or Nintendo who compete directly with the PSP itself) to pay for something like this to make Sony look bad. But then I am incredibly cynical.

    Oh, I also work for Sony. But I didn't spraypaint anything :D
  • Apprentice (Score:3, Informative)

    by Taulin (569009) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @01:09PM (#14178731) Homepage Journal
    There was also an episode of The Apprentice, where Sony wanted the team to paint a street graffiti picture on the side of the building advertising GT4. I guess they just took this to the next step.
  • Do we have proof that Sony did this? There is a story of a guy caught in action, but the story never confirmed he was from Sony or anything else.

    Look carefully at the pictures. They do not depict the PSP in a positive light. The PSP is like a toy to the children. And in each picture, the children are not even looking at their PSP. Their gaze is elseware as if they were hypnotized. The swirl look in their eyes resembles the Microsoft 360 logo.

    These pictures appeared in the major Xbox 360 launch cities of Chi
  • Sony need to stop trying to attract the kind of people who enjoy graffiti and rebelling against the system, because they will only be seen as the enemy if they try to take their corporate marketing to an anti corporate audience.
  • Around 13th and South Street in Philadelphia. There is a tatoo shop that usually has grafitti on the side and while bar hopping I noticed it.

    Three chracters using a psp with different thinks like licking a psp on a stick or using is at a paddle ball.

    I thought perhaps the artist was just being over zealous over a pop statement about his personal psp and his friends, but perhaps it was one of these paid adds.
  • Correct terms (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    It's not graffists or graffistis, it's GRAFFITI ARTISTS or graf artists

    and tons of graf is done on completely legal surfaces. I think people are getting pissed and always do when corporations use invasive advertising. Graffiti artists are trying to create art and a statement against corporations, and when they turn around and use it against them it's like a slap in the face. There is a code and many kids (and I use kids b/c your 26 yr old graf artist isn't doing it) don't follow it.. don't paint on priva
    • No it doesn't.

      That's my opinion, you have yours. Both opinions are irrelevant.

      It's not your stuff. Stop fucking painting shit on it.
      • If you prefer the boring grey of a hopeless world, fine, be that way. But to deny the color of art in oppressive environments is a useless battle. Urban art will be there, and many, people who actually live there, support the art.
  • Call them what they are: vandals. I don't care if they paint on the side of a church or on the undercarriage of a bridge that nobody will ever see: IF IT IS NOT YOURS, YOU DON'T DEFACE IT. People generally have a wide variety of tastes when it comes to art. How dare you push your art onto others? Would you like it if I came into your house, went into your bedroom, and painted a big fucking picture of David Hasselhoff above your bed? Oh wait, you mean you PREFER the bland, white ceiling to my amazing art
    • how does it being under the bridge hurt anyone if they don't see it? Assuming the city doesn't clean it up no money is lost either. Who actually uses these walls for something? Most are just there, a biproduct of a building in an alley. Who owns the bottom of a bridge? Every tax payer assuming you are in the western world.
      • Vandals do not paint surfaces that are not visible. And even if they did paint in places you couldn't normally see...it doesn't give them the right to do it. Just because a vandal pays taxes does not mean he/she has the right to alter the appearance of an object. Their share in the ownership of that property is tiny....if he lives in a city of one million people, and everybody pays equal taxes (they do not) that is .0001%.
      • How do you know? Prehaps the owner has hired a real Artist do do some work on the wall. He might me sceduled to arrive tomorrow - only he won't be able to start because the vandalism has to be cleand up before hand.

        Unless you ask the onwer for permissing you won't know his planns for the wall.

        Martin
    • Would you like it if I came into your house, went into your bedroom, and painted a big fucking picture of David Hasselhoff above your bed?

      I would like that very much. When are you free?

  • ... is good publicity...

    Sony is good at generating bad publicity, and percieving that as good PR. :)
  • Wouldn't it be fun to walk around their parking area/building with a spray can and do a little of your own advertising. And you might want to bring some mace in case their rent-a-cops come after you. You might even target the most compensatory SUVs, as those probably belong to the marketing wanks who came up with this stupid idea. Too bad we can't do it because it is against the law.
  • by hikerhat (678157)
    "Sony and PSP have every right to use this type of media," Hayes said. "They have done it for (a) very long time very successfully and spoke the language of the streets without being patronizing."

    ha ha ha ha. I can't get enough :)

  • I saw posters here, nothing on raw walls. The kids look like they are on drugs and the PSP in each image is not being used as you would expect. Skateboard, Paddleball, etc.

    Personally it wont sway my choice of handheld game device, but it's interesting to see a corp take this kind of risk. Can't the city sue them?

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