San Francisco takes aim at littering Mafia Wars marketer


If you stumbled upon a pile of $25,000 bills sitting on the street, you'd be overjoyed, wouldn't you? Well, apparently you are not the city of San Francisco, which recently called such bills "sidewalk vandalism" in a recent letter from City Attorney Alex Tse.

OK, to be fair the bills weren't real, but were fakes used as part of a marketing campaign for Zynga's Mafia Wars: Las Vegas expansion. And apparently the bills were actually glued to the sidewalk, which made them a bit difficult (and expensive) for the city to clean up. So maybe you wouldn't have been that overjoyed after all, would you?

Tse initially said he would pursue "pursue every available cause of action aggressively against Zynga for these illegal marketing tactics," but now seems to be focusing their legal efforts on marketing firm Davis Elen Advertising rather than Zynga. The ad agency has reportedly taken full responsibility for the campaign, effectively falling on their sword to protect their client (When did this become an episode of Mad Men?)

Between this fiasco and some recent Snoop-Dogg-related promotional problems in the Nevada desert, Zynga is having a bit of a bad marketing run of late. Then again, if there's no such thing as bad press, then Zynga seems to be getting a whole lot of not-bad press out of both of these snafus.