“All I want for Xmas is a PSP,” touted a supposedly fan-made YouTube video featuring a cheesy young rapper called “Cousin Pete” begging his parents to buy him one. The video’s companion website came complete with all the viral accoutrements like YouTube videos, text message slang…um… printable T-shirt iron-on patterns…PSP greeting cards?
It didn’t take long for visitors to the site to smell something fishy. Commenters on the site started making sarcastic remarks about Charlie and Jeremy, the site’s purported creators. Someone started a thread on the community forum of the Something Awful comedy website began after noticing the professional-ness of the designs for the printable promotions and the model-ish appearance of the people showing off the iron-ons.
The site’s domain name was quickly tracked to the Zipatoni marketing agency on behalf of none other than Sony Computer Entertainment America. After the revelation, the video was quickly removed from YouTube and a message attributed to Sony appeared on the website:
“Busted. Nailed. Snagged. As many of you have figured out (maybe our speech was a little too funky fresh???), Peter isn’t a real hip-hop maven and this site was actually developed by Sony. Guess we were trying to be just a little too clever. From this point forward, we will just stick to making cool products, and use this site to give you nothing but the facts on the PSP.”
A day later, the Consumerist blog tracked down the MySpace pages of all involved and re-posted the video to YouTube. Another YouTuber posted a video showing screen captures of the viral site, the domain registration information, and the Zipatoni website all set to the beat of the original Sony video.