Regardless of the technique used, I find their target marketing to be questionable and in bad taste. A PSP cost $250 USD! I have three kids who all want one and that’s $750 for a hand-held game. Where do you expect kids in the ghetto to get $250 from? Let’s see... sell more drugs… break into more apartments... steal more cars... maybe they’ll just beat up my kids and take theirs. Oh, of course, they’ll just ask their parent(s) to get a third job to pay for it! I have a real problem this kind of advertising and the pricing on these products.
The inner city is all about the “have’s” and the “have not’s” and this drives a wedge even deeper between them. So maybe Sony is responsible for some of the crime on the streets by going into these neighborhoods and pushing their product to people who can’t afford them. I realize that Nike’ and everyone else does it, but the PSP is an outrageously expensive device for kids to afford. Marketing it to kids who’s parents can barely make ends meet is the real criminal act here.
Before you start jumping on my insinuation that all inner city kids are engaging in criminal acts, that was not my intent. It was an exaggeration to stress a point that it’s not fair to push kids into thinking they need something that is absolutely unattainable on their own. (my son saved for 6 months to get his PSP and even then I had to throw in a few bucks at the end because it was killing him that it was taking so long) As a parent, this kind of marketing and product pricing is out of control.
If you look at the billboard in the article, I think the kids would be MUCH better off buying a REAL skateboard then suggesting that a PSP is a substitute for one. (at least they can afford a skate board a lot easier) The kids in the graffiti look pretty young. Have you seen the games that are available for the PSP? Mostly M-Rated! My son has exactly 2 games for his PSP. Not because he can’t afford them, but because there were only 2 games that were appropriate for a 10 year old and that he was interested in. What an absolute waste of money! I feel bad that I made him save for so long for something he can barely use.
If I was a parent in one of these neighborhoods that’s what I would be mad about. Having my kids not even be able to go out on the playground without being reminded of what they can’t afford. Maybe I’m just an old fart but I’m trying to instill some sense of value in my children and I’m finding it extremely difficult to make them work for what they want when their toys are so outrageously expensive it is impossible for them to save for it.
JohnnyRoy-- how is the Sony advetising any different than any other advertising? OK, not all kids can afford a PSP; big deal. Sony isn't exactly the only company advertising expensive things, nor are they the originators of that kind of advertising. It just sounds like people here are actively looking for a reason to bash Sony. Not that Sony doesn't do some things wrong, and not that Sony is an angel from heaven, but it's odd to single them out as if all other companies are Santa and Sony is Satan.
> I can't afford to buy a Lexus, yet I fall directly within the demographic they've chosen to advertise to. Is it, therefore, improper for them to place their ads where I might see them?
No, but you are an adult capable of understand this. You are not a young child who doesn’t understand how much $250 is. I realize that companies market to children all the time knowing full well that they have no money and their parents will have to pay. As the parent who has to pay, I think it stinks! (no fault to Sony since every company is doing it) In this case, I’m not sure the parents even have the means to pay so I don’t see the point. Apparently Sony feels there is a market there so what do I know.
I also thought it was odd to use imagery of young children to advertise an expensive device that 90% of its content is aimed at a T-rated and M-rated audience. I guess if the billboards had teenagers in them listening to music (ala Apple iPod) I wouldn’t have a problem with it. It was the young children on a skateboard, hobby horse, jack-in-the-box, imagery that struck me the wrong way. Like I said, after my 10 year old son got a PSP and we found out that 90% of the games for it were inappropriate for his age. To me, that sort of advertising is misleading. I would have liked to see it targeted to an older age group.
This is so dumb,, big companies have always went after the kids,, the dollars are just larger now.
I'm sure Nike thinks I'm going to buy me a pair of 125.00 LaBron whats his name shoes to go with all those air jordans I have. anyone over 18 wear those things ?
Here are two things of intrest to this thread - also I have to say this:
*WARNING* - the second piece are parts of an opinion from a graffiti artist and may contain words that might offend some of you. It also may offend you because of the opinon the artist has - however no one here has actually said "Well I do this kind of stuff" so I thought maybe it would be nice to share the opinion from someone who does do it. Also I am linking to some images of the now defaced ads - some of them are funny, others however show that Sony placed ads in places that, as I have already said, were filled with existing graffiti.
That being said - read away
Piece # 1 :
New Graffiti Law Orders Property Owners To Clean Up
Piece # 2:
Why did Sony become such a target? Why did the negativity towards this campaign get so big so fast?
Graffiti shouldn't be in ads and ads shouldn't be in graffiti.
To you, Sony is your dads tv. Sony is the failed Walkman. Sony means nothing to you other than reminding you of the establishment that you've rejected.
Sony screwed up mainly because of the internet. And because they didn't understand the code of the counter-culture, and because they launched a campaign that was ill-conceived and confusing to the very people they wanted to win over.
In our opinion, nobody should be pissed at Tat's Cru for their Sony work.
So for us, Sony's mistake is a) they don't have any moral code and b) like the true outsider they that they are, they never took the time, nor shown the effort, to try to see if they could be accepted by a group that they didn't grow up with or have shared experiences. Sony should have taken the tact of having one person accept them, and then having that person tell their mates that they're actually much more cool then they look. That they can be trusted. And then wait until more and more people accept them because they never betrayed their trust. This is the way to sell PSPs. The slow, calculated way. But big companies can't do this. They have quarterly earnings. They don't have the time nor the ability to treat their "targets" like real people.
I read bits and parts of it but the dude who is speaking in the second piece sounds like a total asshat.
I have looked at from every point of view I can think of and still see nothing wrong with what Sony did. I would much rather look at an ad even if its stenciled than I would with some wall with gang signs spray painted or "F*ck so and so" or "Joanie Loves Chachie"
If these taggers and gang bangers spent half as much time in school or working a real job as they do committing crime and defacing property WITHOUT permission, theyd have it made big time. I guess the old saying is you can take the man out of the ghetto but you cant take the ghetto out of the man.
>>>...the dude who is speaking in the second piece sounds like a total asshat.<<<
From a marketing point I agree with him 100%. See when I first heard of this it was nothing more than tagging - in areas already tagged and graffitied. I see now it is real mix and match and part of what he is saying is *that* is part of Sony's screw up - part of it looks clearly like some ad, in "clean" areas. Others are just...well...graffiti mixed in with gang tags and other street art. When I first saw this is wasn't anything I looked at as some clever, for sure not orginal, marketing. I thought is was just Sony hiring some kids to go out and spray paint a pre-made stencil in run down areas here on the East coast. From what I could tell it is marketed for "urban" teens...thusly those are the area's targeted. A few years ago Malt Liquer billboards were targeted in the same areas and they too caused an uproar.
I think, reall, this is like anything - we make film and we 'target" them at times to a specific audience. We cut trailers that way - we certianly wouldn't cut a heavy drama as a light comedy and we wouldn't market a teen film to the "baby boomers". For me I have a life in the music world as well and I get offended when I see some 'goth" or "metal" type music/film marketed as such because the reality is that 99.9% of the time they are not that. It is someone not doing any sort of real research and than alienating the audience it was intended for.
ok - here is a perfect example. Many years ago a friend of mine calls me up and says his band were going to be on Montel Williams and to come down to the taping. I went down and saw all these goth kids there and I was kind of confused because my friends band was not goth in any way. So it turns out the show that day was on "Vampire goth rock" and Montel's producers had gone to a very popular goth club and asked the kids to come to the show, in their full club outfits. On the other side they had asked my friends bands singer to be one of the main guests. Now my friends bands was a very theatrical/b-movie/metal band - think King Diamond, Alice Cooper and bad 50's sci-fi and 60's splatter films. Also they had on some guy from the young republicans whose whole thing was how the goth scene was against Christian and family values and what not...basicly all of this was adding to the moral decay of society. And they also had on a guy who was a vampire however the entire show he said maybe 4 things. Most of the show was spent with Montel and the young republican guy attacking the crowd for dressing up "goth" and following bands like my friends. Best moments were when my friend said outright "well I am not goth and my band isn't part of the goth scene so really I have no comemnt on this", the vampire guy said he had never heard of my firends band, but that he also didn't listen to metal, and they other when one of the teens in the crowds mom stood up and said something like "These kids are good kids. They dress up and go out one night a week to this all age club. I drive my daughter and her friends there and I take offense that you are trying to blame the parents for letting them do this, or that they are somehow out of control." On the show, as it was aired, the producers never "disclosed" to the viewers they had invited these kids to come dressed up nor did they "disclose" none of the main guests really were part of the goth scene. So all you, the viewer, saw was most of the teen crowd all dressed in black and looking very goth and getting attacked by Montel and the young republican rep with comments like "You kids think every day in Halloween." "Don't you have any sense of reality?" "You all probably try to drink each others blood and worship satan". So the marketing peope and the producers, in a sense, aliented the people he was trying to reach with that show...it was really a total failure for many reasons. Just like this Sony campaign.
So in any case I don't think the opinion was totally off base. Sony went into an area they really don't know a lot about and tried to market something that most kids in these areas can not afford (by legal means anyway) and neglected to understand that most of these areas have been trying to clean up graffiti. Not only has Sony pissed off the kids they have pissed off the parents trying to clean up some of these areas. And according ot one piece I read one place got paid $100 for 2 weeks "use" of their wall. How much would a real legal billboard cost? I doubt 50 bucks a week. I do not live in a gang infested area - I have in the past and moved away from areas that were and it makes me more than nervous now when the smallest tag pops up around here and that, again, is part of my point. Had Sony come into this area and tried to do this it would have been gone before it was up. So Sony mostly went into areas where it wouldn't stand out - so to speak. Either way I think it was poor judgement and bad marketing...not the marketing to the PSP's target audience, but the way they did it.
I just gotta ask, what gives in the good old US of A?
Down here when you're 18 you're an adult, is it something in the water or what that causes a national case of arrested development.
But I seem to recall there's a lot of things that you can do in the USA at 18, like getting executed or enlisting but you can't buy a can of spray paint.
Laws vary state to state and than city to city - they started putting restrictions on items that could be used to tag when the gangs got so "huge", also really there is no reason whey a 10 year old should be buying cases of spray paint at 11 am on a school day. I think it is a state law that no one under the age of 16 can buy things like spray paint during school hours and than they can only buy one can at a time. It may seem harmelss to buy paint but it isn't really. Now we also have rules about buying certian over the counter medications because kids are using them to get high. Some schools have outlawed things like colored shoelaces and colored headbands.
Why not give the artists and street kids some free PSPs, and let the games influence their tagging/pieces? Mario Graffiti. It wouldn't cost Sony $300 per unit, they get them made for MUCH less than that. So, send 100 units to people "in the know" in the graffiti-writing scene, and have them give one to each member of their crew, etc. The game's characters will find their ways to buildings and trains all over the place.