Sony just pulled their site, allIwantforchristmasisapsp.com after they got caught trying to do a little stealth buzz marketing.
They launched the site and had writers pretend they were just gamers who loved the new PS3, as opposed to marketers hired by Sony.
They were found out when someone discovered that the web marketing firm Zipatoni owned the web address and then traced that back to Sony. Oops.
There are some great lessons learned as pointed out by AdAge. But the most important is don’t lie, or even flirt with lying. Especially when your audience is a bunch of highly skeptical, savvy gamers.
Don’t take my word for it – see what the FTC says about this practice.
Always, always be transparent. The potential downside of deceptive marketing is huge. Believe me, Sony learned that lesson – they’re struggling to make up ground on the XBOX 360 and the last thing they needed was the flood of bad publicity and angry gamers this generated.