20th Century Fox has issued an apology for utilsing fake news websites in the marketing campaign for horror movie ‘A Cure for Wellness’.
A less-than-conventional marketing campaign for the story of a less-than-scrupulous ‘wellness centre’ in Switzerland was uncovered by Buzzfeed. The studio had initiated fake news sites entitled the Sacramento Dispatch, The Indianapolis Gazette, the Salt Lake City Guardian, Houston Leader, NY Morning Post.
These spread sensationalist fake news around a fake water brand, a Donald Trump vaccination ban and a Lady Gaga Super Bowl Muslim tribute to pull readers into the site. On the five sites, the movie was promoted both in ads and natively in a story claiming a viewer entered a catatonic state during the movie.
The LA Times received an apology from a Fox spokesperson: “In raising awareness for our films, we do our best to push the boundaries of traditional marketing in order to creatively express our message to consumers. In this case, we got it wrong. The digital campaign was inappropriate on every level, especially given the trust we work to build every day with our consumers.
“We have reviewed our internal approval process and made appropriate changes to ensure that every part of a campaign is elevated to and vetted by management in order to avoid this type of mistake in the future. We sincerely apologize.”