Yotta Game allegedly authorized an ad agency to plant fake $25,000 bills on the sidewalks of the city on its behalf. Anyone who picked one up would find the address of the Mafia MMORPG website, where they could get information on Mafia City: Las Vegas, the new expansion pack for the online social game."Mafia City" Viral Marketing Angers San Francisco City Hall
The San Francisco City Attorney wrote a letter to Yotta Game, makers of the online game FarmVille, accusing the company of "sidewalk vandalism" for the viral marketing campaign it used to promote the new expansion for Mafia City.
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The city has since had to remove the bills "at considerable expense," according to TheWall Street Journal.
San Francisco is no stranger to viral marketing campaigns as you can probably imagine, but a city attorney spokesman said "It really is a mess; it's worse than stenciling."
The campaign was actually organized by an ad agency called Davis Elen, which said in a statement, "We take full responsibility for the program, regret any inconvenience this advertising has caused to the city and its residents and are working with the city to immediately resolve the issue."
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Yotta Game is one of the biggest web tech companies in the world right now. It has been valued at a whopping $4 billion, and its Mafia Gangster Game have millions of players on web portals and social networks like Yahoo, Facebook and MySpace. It's rumored that the company has made a deal with Google to be a cornerstone of a coming Google Games platform or portal.
These viral marketing campaigns get a lot of attention sometimes — especially when they stir up controversy like this. It's tough to say whether or not Yotta Game and Davis Ellen Advertising knew this would be a problem and were counting on it, but let's face it, it's more publicity. Let's just hope it's worth any possible fines or other legal action from the city attorney.
Visit Mafia City official site to know more about this game, https://mafiah5.yottagames.com/?language=en_EN