San Fran folks miffed at Sony graffiti advertising

Back in Novemeber we posted about graffiti for Sony's PSP handheld popping up in major cities. Now it seems that it's ticking off some in San Francisco and resulting in the graffiti being spraypainted over and having lines added including "Advertising directed at your counter-culture, "Get out of my city," and changing Sony to "Fony".

When asked about the criticism, Molly Smith, spokesperson for Sony, countered that art is subjective and that both the content and the medium dovetailed with Sony's belief that the PSP is a "disrupter product" that lets people play games, surf the internet and watch movies wherever they want.
"With PSP being a portable product, our target is what we consider to be urban nomads, people who are on the go constantly," Smith said.

There isn't any info yet if similar acts are taking place in other cities where the campaign is running.

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Dabitch's picture

I love the text to this photo located here

After inserting the word "Fony" into the ad, this commenter says he or she would rather ride a geeky, foldable British bicycle or do obscene things to a mime than buy a Sony product.

Other cities by the way Los Angeles: ""Is anyone else concerned that Sony Playstation paid someone to vandalize our neighborhood to sell their latest toy," writes a Los Angeles resident. "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..." and New York (Gothamist) picks it apart, telling us how wrong it is in so many ways:"#3. It's deceptive: if you are going to do this stuff, at least have the balls to sign the ads, SONY, so people know who to blame. Of course, that would undermine your fakery, so it's probably not going to happen. Lying to people to promote a product is wrong! wrong! wrong!" Oh and here's a cool shot from the woostercollective showing a painter in teh act of making a Sony PSP graffiti artwork. Neat.

LPikon's picture

I think that this kind of backlash is starting to rear its head in many places, even down here in NZ. In many ways, it's understandable I guess.
Graffiti Art (as opposed to pure 'tagging' which was as much about marking out territories as anything else) originated as an anarchistic, anti-establishment form of artistic expression - these people were talented, but viewed as outsiders, not only by the average Joe / Joe-ess, but also the established visual arts community.
That is changing now, and how it's changing! - many of these artists are being openly applauded and recognised within their communities and even further afield. There are exhibitions, coffee table books and cool magazines such as Juxtapoz all showcasing what, at it's best is amazing work.
However, the more 'mainstream' these artists / collectives become, the more chance they have of being used (sorry, commissioned) by commercial interests - especially advertisers. This is where it can get ugly for the artist, and advertiser.
If the graffiti artist does a piece for an advertiser, there are a few real problems that can develop:
-most of the 'counter-culturalists' out there feel that the artist has sold out to 'the man'.
-if the advertiser gets the artist to do the work on a wall, hoarding or any other area where the graffiti artist community normally 'display' their work, then in their eyes, that advert has 'stolen' their own work space / canvas.
-this when you usually see the piece defaced, adjusted, or in some cases, completely painted over by another piece of 'real' work by an irate graffiti-ist.
At the end of the day, it is all about authenticity and being 'real', and so to see that Sony didn't just commission a supposed graffiti artist ( a real sin :)) to complete a piece of work, but then virtually have that work 'mass-produced' by having an army of copiers out there on the streets, using up available wall space just ain't right, and is certainly not authentic!
So, would I ever use a graffiti artist for a piece of advertising - too right I would, BUT knowing the nature of that community, and that they will spot a fake from a mile away, I'd not try and pass off the work as 'authentic', I would either purchase genuine billboard space for the work to be created on, or provide whatever medium I want them to work on (a car, bus, train etc), and always make sure that when revealed, the piece could be clearly linked to the advertisers brand.
Then, at least the work is 'real', even if the graffiti artist can still be accused of selling out to 'the man'.

Dabitch's picture

wow, here's a big sin, this Fony Paystation Mural covers someone elses artwork.

/Turk 182!

caffeinegoddess's picture

Yipes. It's now morphed into ads on people! Sony's apparently co-opting in with folks at clubs.