Everybody that lives in Amsterdam recognizes the human sized letters that spell ‘I Amsterdam’. So when the A and the M disappeared this week, people noticed that something was missing. Amsterdam Partners (AP) – the agency that exploits the city slogan – reported the letters as stolen. AP even stated they encountered the missing letters on Marktplaats (the Dutch eBay). But it was all a hoax. The letters were replaced by a (big) piece of origami. With this guerrilla action Sony tried to get attention for their new game ‘Heavy Rain’ – on sale as from yesterday. In this game there’s a character called the Origami Killer – hence the origami. The person selling the letters on Marktplaats was called Erik Gilliroam, an anagram for Origami Killer. Do they really expect gamers to buy this game after having seen such an incredibly far fetched example of bad guerrilla advertising?!
Heavy Rain, David Cage’s unique murder mystery thriller, may have already stormed the sales charts inEurope and North America, but that hasn’t stopped Sony from putting an unprecedented level of marketing behind the game, showering Europe with several television ads. In Amsterdam, Sony Computer Entertainment Benelux seems to have taken their marketing a step further in a unique and bold viral advertising move.
Amsterdam’s famous Museum Plaza, Museumplein, is well known for its iconic “I amsterdam” which attracts hundreds of visitors who often pose on the letters. Sony, or another unknown party, appears to have ’stolen’ the letters A and M from the landmark, and left Heavy Rain’s trademark origami bird in its place.
In fact, rather than being a simple marketing stunt, it seems that the legality of the move is in question, as the police and various media outlets have started to take notice of it. The letters were later found on an auction website known as Marktplaat.nl as “The Best Known Letters In The Netherlands.” Underneath a photograph of the missing letters the ad’s text read: “Hoe ver durf je te gaan om ze te krijgen?” (How far dare you go to get them?”), a pun on Heavy Rain’s slogan “How far will you go for love?”.
Charles van Renesse, director of Amsterdam Partners, who have filed a complaint to the police, expressed his bewilderment at the crime, to the daily Het Parool:
“We’re talking about two letters that combined weigh at least 500 kilo (1102 pounds),”
The true identity of the thief remains unknown. However the Origami figure and the imminent release of Heavy Rain point towards the act being a Sony sponsored promotion.
Heavy Rain is already available in North American stores, with Mainland Europe having to wait an extra day, and the UK receiving the game on Friday.