Despite Last Year's Disaster, Sony Teams Up With Taco Bell Again

Despite Last Year's Disaster, Sony Teams Up With Taco Bell Again

Remember last year when a debacle of a partnership between Taco Bell and Sony left some PlayStation fans feeling cheated and misled? The two companies are partnering again -- and the collaboration sure sounds familiar.

This time around it's a contest to win free PlayStation 4s:

The "Play the Future First" promotion runs in the U.S. from Sept. 26 to Nov. 10, and gives fans the chance to win the highly-anticipated PS4™ system before it hits stores nationwide on Nov. 15. During the promotion, each PS4 branded Taco Bell $US5 Buck Box or Big Box -- which includes a Cheesy Gordita Crunch or Crunchwrap Supreme®, a Burrito Supreme®, a Crunchy Taco and a medium fountain drink -- will provide a unique code for consumers to text in for a chance to win a PlayStation 4 prize pack. The prize pack features one PS4 system, one copy of the exclusive PS4 game, Knack™, and a one-year membership to PlayStation®Plus (PS Plus).

If all this sounds familiar to you, that's because it's the same exact promotion that went awry last year, when Sony gave Taco Bell $US5 Buck Box eaters the opportunity to win PlayStation Vitas. Sony customers who were told they had won Vitas never actually received their prizes in a nightmare that Taco Bell eventually blamed on technical issues. Meanwhile, hackers said they had gamed the system and figured out how to win Vitas without having to eat all those tacos. Some misled gamers eventually won their Vitas, months later, but the whole event was a disaster for everyone affected.

Which sort of makes this part of the press release feel like a slap in the face to everyone who was involved (emphasis mine):

"Following the positive response from the gaming community for the PS Vita campaign last year, we are thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with Taco Bell to tap into the excitement as we prepare to launch PS4 on November 15," said Guy Longworth, senior vice president, brand marketing at SCEA. "PlayStation and Taco Bell both have some of the most loyal fans in the world, and this promotion rewards them by providing an extraordinary opportunity to get their hands on a PS4 before it hits stores."

Interesting language considering how many people were infuriated by last year's contest.

This time around, entries will be checked via text message instead of the web portal that was so fickle and easy to manipulate last year. (At one point during the contest, I could access the "You won!" screen just by typing in a URL on my browser.) Will that stave off hackers and prevent the sort of issues they faced in 2012?

I've reached out to Sony's people to ask why they'd want to go through this again, and I'll update if they comment.


    I can totally see any company saying "After we massively screwed this last time, we thought we'd try again".

    Also I love the last paragraph - "reaching out" to a company by saying "This was awful. Why would you want to do it again?" while implying it will be just as bad will totally be a positive conversation.

      In the magical land of puppies and rainbows where PR people give candid responses? That could be productive... But in reality we'll probably have to hope for an amusing bit of NewSpeak to dissect, or - more likely - no comment.

    I think the people that did the wrong thing should brunt our frustration.
    Hopefully Sony and Taco Bell don't have cheating to contend with this time. At the end of the day they are offering a competition to help the images or the brands and give us something exciting to compete for. No one (either the companies or customers) want to experience underhandedness.

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