Marketing Stunt Lands Zynga in Hot Water with San Francisco

Social game powerhouse Zynga may be the most powerful force on Facebook but it may find itself faced with a challenger it can’t overcome: the San Francisco City Attorney’s office. The San Francisco City Attorney’s office is going after Zynga for what it is calling an "illegal and actionable" act involving a marketing campaign to promote the company’s latest product in the Mafia Wars franchise – Mafia Wars: Las Vegas.

In a letter released today, Deputy City Attorney Alex Tse said that Zynga committed "documented acts of sidewalk vandalism" to advertise the new Mafia Wars game using fake $25,000 bills that were glued to sidewalks in San Francisco. The fake bills contained a message directing people to a Mafia Wars website. While the stunt might sound amusing to the casual observer, the City Attorney isn’t laughing.

"The City Attorney takes violations such as these very seriously, and intends to pursue every available cause of action aggressively against Zynga for these illegal marketing tactics," Tse writes.

In the letter, Tse demands that Zynga "provide the City full information regarding the nature and extent of the marketing campaign affecting the public way in the City, identify all parties other than Zynga responsible for this campaign, and provide the City with a proposal to fully resolve the issue."

The company plans some other questionable marketing stunts to promote this game including blowing up a truck in the Nevada desert this evening with rapper Snoop Dogg -on hand, fo shizzle, to enjoy the fanfare.

Source: San Francisco Weekly

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