Variety is reporting that Twentieth Century Fox has released a statement of apology for creating and posting fake new stories in an attempt to raise awareness for their upcoming film A Cure For Wellness.
The statement conceded that the viral marketing campaign was ill-advised and in poor taste, stating that, “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 statement would go on to say that, “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.”
The controversial campaign consisted of “…about half a dozen websites created by backers of the film, under names like Sacramento Dispatch, Salt Lake City Guardian, Houston Leader, NY Morning Post, and Indianapolis Gazette — to post stories about purported news events, many of which involved President Trump.”
“Among the fictional tales designed as click-bait for readers: Trump secretly meeting with Vladimir Putin, Trump banning vaccinations, and Trump refusing to send aid to a California disaster area. There was no hint the stories were made up. Embedded in the pieces were suggestions that readers send objections about the purported actions, using hashtags like #ACureForWellness. That raised the spectre of tricking consumers into repeating the A Cure for Wellness taglines, without knowing they were even connected to a film.”
Perhaps the sudio should have invested in some fake reviews instead of fake news. The Gore Verbinski film currently sits at 42% on Rotten Tomatoes, with an even lower average from top critics (34%). Poor reviews, a tasteless viral campaign, and stiff competition from the horror champ of the season Split, does not bode well for the film, which opens tomorrow at theaters nation-wide.
Stay tuned to Horror News Network for updates on this story and a box office report on A Cure for Wellness this weekend.