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Mafia Wars Marketing Stunt Angers City DA

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera has made Zynga Game Network an offer they better not refuse.

As part of a marketing stunt for Mafia Wars, dozens of fake $25,000 bills were glued to the sidewalks around San Francisco. It was probably a hoot watching people bend down and try to pick them up but the Department of Public Works isn’t laughing. They say they had to steam clean the sidewalks costing them time and money. . . really money, not that phony stuff. The total cost is still being figured, said a spokesperson to SFGate, but you can bet it’s going to be high enough to prove that crime don’t pay.

The stunt was one of two campaigns Zynga launched to promote a new Las Vegas version of Mafia Wars. The bills in question had the link to the website on them — but then why were they “glued” to the street? Did they expect people to bend down, read and remember the address? Wouldn’t it have made more sense to leave loose money lying around?

The new game site is offering up a $25,000 grand prize, thus the dollar amount on the bills. Their other promo, one that was far more dangerous, actually went off without a hitch. They hired Snoop Dogg to blow up an armored car in the Vegas desert, and that’s an interesting story in itself. You can read how it came about at Inc.

Meanwhile, back in San Francisco, Zynga’s been ordered to turn over all of their files pertaining to the marketing campaign in the city. They’re also requesting that the company come up with a “proposal to fully resolve the issue.” Paying to clean up the mess alone isn’t going to cut it.

The irony here is that the hoopla surrounding the stunt has generated more press than the stunt itself, so whatever Zynga has to pay in the end may be worth it.

Photo: SFGate

  • http://arcanasphere.com/blog AndrewJ

    I’m not so sure the Snoop Dogg one could be said to have gone off “without a hitch.” Someone directed Snoop to stand between the camera and the exploding van seconds before the big moment, and he reportedly was filmed telling the audience to “pick up the game when it’s in the stores.”

    Oops.

    People are talking. They’re mostly rubbernecking but it’s still getting them some attention.

    • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Cynthia

      Oh geez, I’d say all of this comes from everyone feeling the pressure to do things faster, bigger, better. We’re not taking time to plan like we used to and it’s causing at best a sloppy message and at worst a lot of wasted money and time.

  • http://www.play-mario-games.info play mario online

    Bum Bum ! If is no fire then is no mafia :D….