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Rock fans uninterested in Harrison's PS3 auction

Kyle Orland

Marketing is all about knowing your audience -- what they'll respond to and what will turn them off. Going by that metric, it seems Sony's Phil Harrison wasn't quite a marketing genius at a recent rock concert.

Paul Rose, a.k.a Edge magazine's "Mr. Biffo," recounts on his blog the somewhat embarrassing tale of a Harrison-led PS3 charity auction in the middle of a Marillion festival in Holland. Harrison, who's apparently a friend of the British rock band, reportedly took over the auctioneering duties from the band's keyboardist, raising the bidding price from just above €100 to the €600 retail price as he did.

What followed was a debacle that Rose calls "one of the most awful things I have ever witnessed." According to Rose, Harrison was only able to get one bid out of the awkwardly silent two-thousand-plus strong crowd. What's more, Harrison reportedly "became increasingly desperate as it grew clear that everyone just wanted him to go away, and nobody was going to indulge his tasteless attempt at publicity."

It'd be easy to spin this as an example of the PS3's high price hurting it's saleability, but really it's just another example of marketing tone-deafness of Sony's part. These people were there to hear a rock concert, not to hear a marketing pitch from a Sony executive who wants them to throw down €600+ for a game system on an impulse. Sometimes, you just have to know when people don't want to be sold to.

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