Without a doubt, just one look at this billboard and you can clearly see what the whole commotion was all about. This ad from Holland sparked scores of controversy way back in 2006. While the various images of this ad campaign were certainly not intended to be racist, they definitely did very little to give people any reason not to interpret it that way. The fault here rested in Sony's naivety to have not thought that people would associate these images of human beings with historical sensitivities rather than the lifeless machines they're supposed to portray.
Sony defended their campaign as "clever marketing" but ultimately pulled the campaign out completely. Sure, it was clever to use powerful and provocative images like this as a metaphor for the PSP's color schemes, but it doesn't mean that it was tasteful. Just one tip, marketing/advertising isn't just about how clever you make your ads; what matters most is how people understand it and act upon it. Try to figure that out Sony, and then maybe this feature wouldn't have existed.
1. PSP - "All I want for Xmas is a PSP" Flog
The absolute worst marketing blunder ever done by Sony was the "All I want for Xmas is a PSP" flog from the holiday season of 2006. The reason why this one reigns supreme as the worst is because this was the most insulting to consumer intelligence. The idea of the flog itself was to pose as two regular Joe's (Charlie & Jeremy) who post amateur videos and supposedly personal writings in an attempt to get Jeremy's parents to buy the "teen" a PSP for Christmas. However, not a shred of content on the site was real (including some faked visitor comments); the flog was a complete lie and undermined consumer trust as the site was registered and run by viral marketer Zipatoni. When the jig was up, the internet was ablaze with both shock and disgust.
The aftermath? Well, within the same month that the "All I want for Xmas" flog went down, the Federal Trade Commission started to finally take notice of the issue on unethical marketing tactics endorsed by Sony and other alike corporate giants. From then on, it was necessary for companies to fully disclose any viral campaign plans. This campaign was so bad and ill-received that Sony won an award beating out McDonald's and Walmart for "Best flog of 2006."