We’re moving away from video for this piece but as you’ll see images will still be quite important. Sony Playstation sent out a press release earlier today declaring it had tested the public’s honesty as part of the launch of it’s new game PS3 game Heavy Rain. Any kind of research story by a corporate entity should always be treated with caution, so we were keen to find out how Sony Playstation had conducted the study.
As part of the promotion 100 wallets containing €20 were left across four Irish cities, 40 in Dublin, and 20 each in Limerick, Cork, and Galway over the weekend. While this is far from a substantial sample we’re not going to criticise them for not want to leave €20,000 in cash lying around instead of the €2,000 they did circulate.
Sony Playstation placed a number inside the wallets for people who found them to ring hoping to test the honesty of those that found the wallets. According their results 54 people out of the 100 rang this number and they were duly rewarded with a €20 Gamestop voucher for their honesty.
After viewing the initial press release we had a few questions about the make-up of the wallet. Firstly we asked if there was any other material in the wallet to make it look like it wasn’t planted. A spokesperson for the firm told Villa81.com that extra items were placed inside to make it look more like an ordinary wallet.
There was of course one other important question and that is how the phone number was presented. We asked for an image of the wallets and they provided Villa81.com with such an image promptly. The wallets looked like so:
Having covered plenty of flawed corporate research stories over the years, I’m the first to scream bad science at the way the card looks. There’s no doubt that it’s a call to action, the likes of which typically would not be found in most wallets.
We accept that Sony Playstation had to put something there in order for the promotion to work but there were more plausible alternatives. A hand scrawled number would have been more authentic and plausible, or even and hand written number on a standardised looking card would have sufficed. It’s hard to believe the professional nature of the business card with the number printed on it didn’t pique the interest of at least some of those that rang it.
On the whole Sony Playstation ran an event that certainly piqued our interest and we have no doubt they didn’t have lofty scientific goals, it was after all a promotion. As a promotion they deserve credit for being open with this website about how it was conducted.