Sony DVD marketing stunt backfires

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The creatives behind the marketing of Sony's new DVD, 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' hit upon a great way of publicising the film - by releasing the DVD designed to look like a pirate copy.

According to the Washington Post, the move didn't go entirely as planned, as confused consumers thought they had received a pirate version rather than the real thing, and tried to return it.
The idea was a clever play on the hacking themes of the film. Ruth Mortimer, editor of Marketing Week says: "The core audience for the film was likely to see this as an interesting and fun way of promoting the film and playing on central themes. It will appeal to those who are 'in the know'. It's just that those who know less about the film itself, and not the core audience, didn't get the joke."

Sellers and rental companies have already put warnings up on their websites, alerting customers to the unusual design, and newspapers from the Washington Post to The Telegraph covered the story.

Mortimer said it was difficult to assess whether this was a genuine backfiring of a campaign, or whether the company was trying to generate column inches for the new release.

However, it wouldn't be the first marketing stunt to go awry. We reveal five of the silliest.


1. In 2002 two streakers entertained the crowds at a New Zealand vs Australia rugby match sporting nothing but the Vodafone logo. The police arrested them and the chief executive of Vodafone was forced to issue an apology for any crowd members who were upset by the stunt.

2. Earlier this year, BMW apologised after the company sponsored a weather system in Germany. It's a fairly normal practice in Germany, where it helps fund the forecasting service. Unfortunately, it gave the name Cooper to a freezing weather system that killed dozens of people across Europe.

3. The business of naming a product can prove tricky, which the makers of Nova discovered when they tried to sell the product in Mexico and discovered that Nova translates as no-go.

4. The slogan writers and translators were left equally red-faced when they discovered that Pepsi's slogan 'Come Alive with Pepsi' translated in China as "Pepsi makes your ancestors come back from the dead."

5. The weather foxed the makers of Snapple in 2005, who erected the world's largest ice lolly in New York. Unfortunately a scorching day meant it melted before the press showed up and the roads had to be closed to hose off the goo.
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