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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  1. 0
    DJRBK says:

    I gotta commend Zynga on this highly successful marketing stunt. Whatever fine they will have to pay to the city of San Francisco pales in comparison to what they would have had to spend to get this much news and media coverage through legitimate means

  2. 0
    Icehawk says:

    Er um… Sidewalk vandalism?  This is something that the DA’s office is getting their shorts in a bunch over?   Basically a fine, slap on the wrist and "Next" seems more in order. 

    While I have not love for Zynga I mean; please this is worth effort or note?

    Insanity is inherited.  Parents get it from their children. 


  3. 0
    GoodRobotUs says:

    Not to mention closing down games that people had spent actual money on in an entirely callous and insensitive manner. Whilst, to a certain degree, I don’t agree with ‘pay as you go’ style of games, and those people who invested did so voluntarily, Zynga could at least try to pretend that they have some level of respect for the consumers.

  4. 0
    hellfire7885 says:

    Just now Zynga is landing in hot water for something? After stories of people recieving huge phone charges because they bought soemthing from Zynga?

  5. 0
    GoodRobotUs says:

    Zynga… Not only does it sound like a really badly spelt Hamburger, something you’d buy in a ‘New Age’ cafe, where the last few letters of the alphabet finally start the rebellion at their under-use and possibly a prosthetic sex-toy, but it’s also a company whose business behaviour is probably lower-brow than any of the previously mentioned items.

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