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11. 28. 2005

Sony PSP Corporate Graffiti

SonyGraf.jpg

Residents of Lincoln Heights Los Angeles are pissed about what they suspect is a corporate graffiti campaign sponsored by Sony to promote the PSP. Other flickr users claim to have spotted the same PSP-centric stencils in Silver Lake (LA) and San Francisco.

Lincoln Heights resident Michelle writes:

Is anyone else concerned that Sony Playstation paid someone to vandalize our neighborhood to sell their latest toy, the PSP? I called the city today to have the stencils on the back of Juan's Market painted over. For some strange reason, I'd rather see my friendly local gang lay claim to that wall then have it given over to some crappy corporation and their urban marketing campaign.

The stencils are of these ugly cartoon with messed up eyes all holding PSPs. It's quite obviously an advertisement, but when I called Playstation Consumer Services this morning, they claim to know nothing about the campaign. I guess there's just some clever youngster out here in LH that just really LOVES the PSP and wants the whole world to know about it...

Anyhow, if the "urban marketing" bugs you too, and you don't want Playstation to set an example to other faceless corporations that take big consumer craps in our backyard, give them a call and ask them what their take on graffiti is:

CORPORATE OFFICES

Sony Computer Entertainment America
PO Box 5888
San Mateo, CA 94402-0888
800-345-7669 (800-345-SONY)
M-SAT 6:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. PST
Sunday 7:00 a.m. 6:30 p.m

Have you seen these in your neighborhood too?

UPDATE: !HabitForming's "Fony Paystation" set on flickr. Wooster Collective on the matter. Life on the Edge snaps the PSP marketing campaign in San Pedro, CA.

UPDATE TWO: Sony has been paying some store owners for the right to advertise on their walls. That could explain why LA city workers painted around and not over the PSP stencils on Juan's Market in Lincoln Heights.

juansmarket_lincolnheights.jpg

UPDATE THREE: The Sony PSP campaign has experienced all kinds of backlash since we first blogged about it from inspired protest art to an online petition.

juansmkt3.jpg

(Photos courtesy Vidalia)

Posted by    Category: current affairs | devices | toys
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Comments (28)

angela:

i've seen these recently in atlanta, georgia.

Jessica:

I've spotted them in my NYC neighborhood as well...

Efineout:

Hmmm...I just went from having not much opinion on Sony, other than liking my PS2 to feeling like they are a scum sucking sleazy corporation. Boo on Sony.

Krista:

Yes, there is a spot on the south east corner of E 2nd street and Ave A in NYC's east village that currently has the same graphic. This spot has been functioning as corporate guerilla graffiti for about a year now. There have been about 4 other veiled campaigns I can think of. The space often says: "reserved for tats crew." People are always tagging on top of the ads and they are always pristinely repainted within 24 hours. Curiously, I live on the block and have never seen anyone actually doing the painting....

They're all over NYC. I've seen some in the bathrooms of bars and restaurants too. It looks like they are painted, but most of them that I've seen are just printed stickers or paper that has been glued onto the side of the wall, like a movie poster.

rach:

we've got them in the trendy chicago neighborhoods too. people don't seem to care very much though because axe body spray (vomit) already tried the commercial graffiti approach and that pretty much exhausted everyones interest.

Andy:

Another NYC sighting. I saw it on the outside wall of a bar on 8th Ave. and I think either 15th or 16th.

carla:

I spotted some in Soho recently.. it didn't even occur to me when I saw them that Sony might have put them up.

They're stick-up poster-graffiti; I saw the leftmost one myself, in Silver Lake in LA last weekend. It had already been scrawled over with some anti-Sony reactions. ;)

J-Sizzle:

Don't worry everyone, if you don't like Sony just don't buy their products. I am sure others will pick up where you dorks dropped off. And to just think what that means: no games, no game playing, no phones, no cd player, no cds, no tvs, no entertainment whatsoever. But, hey, that's cool...you got your local gang with spray paint cans who you support over hard working people who--HORRORS--wake up every morning and go to work for a company that provides you with entertainment. Here's a suggestion: If you don't like the campaign, turn the other cheek and get your ass a job in the meantime cause obviously you have to much time on your hands. Tell your local gang whatsup--I am sure they will be excited to say hi back. Hillary in 2008! Whoo!

Kendra:

Saw these up in SoHo...gotta say that I love them, I think the naysayers are crazy. Quit looking too hard into this and enjoy it for what it is...a new art style with a new flavor. Or would you rather we go back to loud ass bus shelters and billboards? Hell no.

Spike:

Personally I'd rather have a safe yet annoying company's rather playful "tags" on my building's walls, than my "playful local gang" (is that possible??) on them. While marketing's a *itch sometimes, I still feel safer than knowing I'm only one hundred feet away from my first beat down or a$$ raping. Hating on it is just a waste of time, which is what I think you have too much of. Look at the sky instead of the building since it's going to be tagged no matter what, but suffice it to say, it's not Sony, b/c I know of a place on the net taggers go to and plan such big events, and one of them was the PSP tag. The characters were to be called "pulp eyes", and they did it to do exactly what's happening now, to hear worthless Americans whine about stupid rubbish that does not even matter anyway, why not cry about the war than a damn drawing that would have duragative writing on it anyway teaching your kids how to spell them??

MAN:

strangly all these comments have somebody in them who has seen one of the graffity..
i seriously doubt that all these people just happened to see one and come to this blog...

Murry:

Man: Maybe it's because there are other sites that link to this one as a source for the story, and people are actually coming here to read it? Gawd you're dumb.

Did anyone actually check the sources on this story? Has anyone ever confirmed that the owner of the property DIDN'T AGREE TO THE ADVERTISING? I find it implausible that Sony would do a graffitti campaign that would actually violate the law. There's no incentive for it. It just doesn't make any sense. Sony is clearly handing out stickers or stencils to employees or contractors, but I'm (fairly) sure they would only go where they had paid the owners of the property. Why would they go anywhere else? Do you think the 'taggers' are going to get paid for doing more work than they're supposed to?

This is just advertising. It looks like graffitti but it's not. LH Michelle has got a bug up her ass because she can't tell the difference between (admittedly unnattractive) advertising and genuine graffitti. She's stupid for having made the accusation in the first place, and you're all pretty stupid to boot if you just take one person's word for it and calling Sony to complain. If you want to complain, do it for other reasons -- like maybe that this faux-graffitti encourages real graffitti or something, if that's how you really feel.

For those of you who really care, and who have a stencil in their neighborhood, check with the store owner and find out. Then report back. I did that last night when I was in Karma (1st Ave bet. 3rd & 4th streets, NYC) and I saw one in the bathroom. I talked to the manager, she said it was a paid advertisement, and then looked at me like I was an idiot for thinking otherwise. I'm just passing her sentiment on to you.

Check out Cory's Boing Boing post on the 'No Sony for Christmas' protest.

http://www.boingboing.net/2005/11/30/no_xmas_for_sony_pro.html

em2:

MAN, are you feeling left out in suburbia?

I also saw them in downton Manhattan, and the batch I saw was also a poster (not painted). Can't remember which street, but was near Spring and Lafayette, I think.

Kevin:

well, when you think about how many PEOPLE see this page, it is not unreasonable to think that 5 or 6 people have seen these. What, do you think that only 10 people or so have seen this page and 6 of them happen to have seen them? Probably more like hundreds of thousands....think a little before you post, 'man'

TK:

Since everyone seems to be going in for the "Sony is paying for this" conspiracy theory, may I add one?

From the looks of these crappy pieces of "art", has anyone noticed that all of these little guys all have eyes that have "spirals" in them as if "hypnotized" and are using the unit for something OTHER than gaming? One of them even has a PSP attached to strings like a marionette!

Allow me to submit: Maybe it's already a scathing commentary on Sony and its "all in one" product and not necessarily a publicity stunt on the company's part?

The worst of it is-- if Sony DIDN'T pay for any of this whoever did is giving them lots of free press.

No such thing as bad publicity and all.

Confidential to readers outside the 90031 zip: Lincoln Heights is not what you would call a hotbed of cool urbanism ala the other neighborhoods commenters mention as suffering this phoney tagging blight. Most Angelenos have no idea this primarily Latino neighborhood exists just over the river from Chinatown and between the Pasadena and 5 Freeways.

If someone from corportate assigned the tag fairies to hit LA, it seems doubtful that Juan's Market is what they had in mind. Weird.

Nygel:

My two cents: This is awesome.

I am assuming sony paid the merchants to be able to do this on their property. It takes time to spraypaint all that. I think that the "culprits" would get nabbed before they could finish. I'll confirm that later...

Sony is taking it to the streets and getting creative. Kudos to them. Wait until the PSP and other "toys" like it revolutionize media and entertainment.

I noticed the "ad' November 10.

http://www.pspworld.com/forums/index.php?topic=2406.0

doctor awesome:

Unless anyone complaining has one of these tags on their own property, why are you complaining? The fact no store owner has made a complaint or file a law suit, from anything i've read on this, is probaby because the stores were paid for advertising. I'm not a fan of corporations, but i dont see this as a productive post asking people to contact Sony about something they did illegaly, unless you have proof otherwise...but i dont see any here.

Has anyone seen the new commercial on T.V. for the PSP? It has 2 squirrels with swirly eyes, it's in black and white and it is exactly the same art style as the graffiti. If you ask me this is just like the Rakoku group from Jet Grind Radio. They should get their asses sued to bankruptcy.

I just ran across a trail of PSP stickers in my neighborhood in Santa Monica. This was around Lincoln Middle School, so I'm not sure if it was kids doing the sticking or what. Pictures here.

sacha:

ya i actually saw this drawing in my neighborhood on the outside walls of a buffet. i had no idea that this same drawing was across the U.S. i jus thought it was only in my neighborhood in brooklyn. cool

Russ:

Notice they put this type of advertising in neighborhoods where the parents should be spending the money on SCHOOL not games? Bet Beverly Hills nor The Hamptons are plagued with this.

Annonymous:

i dont really see what the big deal is...their just little characters on psp's, it not like their making your neigborhood look bad and i seriously doubt anyone would Rather see GANG graffiti than this.

I have not yet seen these but they do look good, great art work if you ask me.

S. Craig Watkins:

Hello,

It's been a while since the Sony issue about the paid street art work generated any press. As someone who writes about and studies hip-hop, (Hip Hop Matters) I have a question: Did Sony do anything different than other companies who have been using hip-hop's street cred and appeal to market their products?

Also, what was it about the campaign that distrurbed people most?

SCW

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