Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Monday, August 23, 2010

Guerrilla Marketing Gone Bad

Creativity in marketing is a good thing, right? It gets attention out of proportion to the time and money spent. So what's the down side? If you don't take enough care in thinking through the consequences of your marketing, you can get some bad PR... or a fine... or possible legal action. Zynga's new marketing stunt for their upcoming Mafia Wars II game has gotten lots of the wrong sort of attention from the San Francisco City Attorney. Zynga pasted (fake) $25,000 bills onto the sidewalk in five different SF locations, and it's taken the Department of Public Works a good amount of effort to clean them up. The City Attorney is angry enough that they are demanding all of Zynga's information relating to the marketing campaign. Plus the City Attorney's office says that just paying the cleanup costs isn't enough, and they intend to pursue this case further. Yikes.

OK, so pasting the fake bills down did get more attention than just handing them out on a street corner... but the wrong sort of attention. You could have had guys in period Mafia clothing handing out the bills and gotten some nice local news coverage. Instead you have news stories about how Zynga is costing the city money at a time when city budgets are under siege.

So the take-home lesson is this: Creativity in marketing is good, when leavened with common sense and thorough analysis. Or you could be sleeping with the fishes.

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