For a city full of hippies and reformers that boasts of being different and tolerant, you sure don’t show that inside City Hall. Maybe its time for a regime change.
Whatever the case may be, Zynga and its new title, Mafia II, is under fire from city officials for its marketing tactics.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle story here, the city officials are not happy about how Zynga is doing its marketing. The social-game developer glued $25,000 bills on sidewalks at at least four different locations, prompting the city to haul out steam cleaners to remove them, and officials are now looking to stick Zynga and its marketing firm, Davis Advertising with the bill. The marketing stunt has also expanded to New York City, with a number of locations in The Big Apple being pasted with similar bills.
I, for one, think this is ingenious marketing, as it really does more for Zynga than, say, a picture in a magazine or newspaper. It reaches out to the people in a real way. Who said Zynga wouldn’t clean it up after the game launches? You don’t see the city of San Francisco trying to remove all those lousy billboards off Highway 101 while driving to the Bay Bridge, hmmm?
Could it be that the city is trying to say no to video games, specifically ones made about gang or criminal violence? Why would a government entity be so serious about a ad campaign that is more creative than Coca-Cola’s billboard off Highway 101? I think that the city does have the right to say, “Hey, you going to clean up your mess?,” after the game launches or have some sort of deal in place for clean up after the launch. But to lose its mind without asking questions first? That’s just wrong.
The Chronicle piece does make interesting mention of graffiti and other methods of public deformation that were reported used in the past, although it seems that there is no proof the company paid for these things, or did it themselves. To some graffiti is considered art, although I am not in that category of thought. If it was approved to be placed on the property by the owners, what’s the big deal?
Zynga, you definately have pushed the boundaries on this one and as clever as you guys may be, hopefully you didn’t leave any fingerprints or paper trails behind. Watch out, the Governator might come after you.