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Sony Graffiti Results in Cease-and-Desist

Sony apparently has a new advertising technique: graffiti. The graffiti ads displaying wide-eyed cartoon characters riding PlayStation Portable units have appeared across the country in New York and San Francisco, with a Sony spokeswoman saying graffiti artists were being hired in Chicago, Miami, Atlanta and other cities, according to the AP. The graffiti ad appeared on the side of an abandoned building in Philadelphia, but had no mention of Sony, the PlayStation brand or a clue that the display was an ad.

Philadelphia Managing Director Pedro Ramos on Wednesday faxed a cease-and-desist letter to Sony Computer Entertainment’s U.S. division in San Mateo, California. He could seek modest fines allowed by city code or sue to recover any profit the ads produced. “My fines aren’t going to scare Sony,â€? Ramos said. “What will worry them is what the parents and their users will think. This really flies in the face of everything we’ve been trying to do with our anti-blight initiative.â€?

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Even with the possible illegality of the actions, some people like the graffiti ads. “It’s all about hip-hop, urban and all that. They’re just trying to get into the teenagers’ minds,â€? said Eddie Torres, an employee at a furniture shop nearby. “I think it’s sharp,â€? he said. Others have a different opinion: “They’re breaking the law,â€? said Mary Tracy, who runs a watchdog group that fights illegal or ill-advised billboards in Philadelphia. “I thought it was sneaky. Not cool,â€? said Zan Sterling, a bar employee near one of the ads. “I hope that they paid for the cleanup and removal.â€?