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Friday, August 20, 2010

Zynga Fingers Ad Agency for Alleged 'Mafia Wars' Sidewalk Vandalism

Posted By and on Fri, Aug 20, 2010 at 4:59 PM

click to enlarge The city attorney sends his regards...
  • The city attorney sends his regards...
We reported here yesterday on accusations against social-gaming company Zynga by the San Francisco City Attorney's office. The city is ready to go to the mattresses over alleged vandalism of city property carried out as part of an advertising campaign by the company, which creates popular Facebook applications such as FarmVille. Well, Zynga is now telling us that the vandalism in question wasn't its fault -- though it can be traced to an ad agency in its employ.

We emailed Dani Dudeck, Zynga's general manager of corporate

communications, for a response to a letter sent to the company by deputy

city attorney Alex Tse. The letter complained about "illegal and

actionable" marketing tactics, which Tse called "vandalism," in which

fake $25,000 bills were glued to sidewalks. The bills advertised Zynga's

new game, Mafia

Wars: Las Vegas.

Dudeck got back to us today with this statement, which she attributed to Davis Elen Advertising, an agency with offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Portland. We haven't been able to reach officials at Davis Elen for comment, but here's the statement:

click to enlarge Sometimes, in a mafia war, you gotta take the fall
  • Sometimes, in a mafia war, you gotta take the fall
"In doing work on behalf of Zynga for the recent Mafia Wars Las Vegas game launch, Davis Elen Advertising led a series of street marketing activities throughout the City of San Francisco. 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."

Note that the "we" here supposedly refers to Davis Elen, and not Zynga. We'll update when we hear back from the ad agency.

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Peter Jamison

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