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Zynga under fire for guerilla Mafia Wars marketing

San Francisco City Attorney's office looking to press charges for 'acts of sidewalk vandalism'

Social network gaming giant Zynga has attracted the attention of the authorities, following an unconventional marketing strategy for the latest extension of its hugely successful Mafia Wars game.

Fake $25,000 bills were stuck to pavements in major cities across the US to promote the Las Vegas expansion, whilst decals of broken glass were left attached to car windscreens – both featured advertisements for the Mafia Wars website. The San Francisco City Attorney's office is looking into the possibility of prosecution.

Deputy San Francisco City Attorney Alex Tse published a letter condemning the company's actions, calling the campaign "illegal and actionable", and "documented acts of sidewalk vandalism".

"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 wrote.

The deputy has asked 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."

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Latest comments (2)

Lisa Ohanian11 years ago
At least they're giving Zynga the opportunity to "confess" and work with the cities in coming to a resolution. But wow, talk about a marketing fail. You know someone's getting fired for that.
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Actually that's not necessary failed marketing. Sometimes viral marketing campaigns get more buzz and impact from the legal fallout than from the campaign itself and end up reaching more people they had even hoped.
At this point they can just sit back and let the Attorney run the rest of the campaign for them...
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