Since viral marketing is old hat by now, 20th Century Fox has apparently taken a different approach to advertising “A Cure for Wellness”: fake news. That’s according to a Buzzfeed News report, which found that the Gore Verbinski–directed thriller opening this week is utilizing a network of fake-news sites as promotional tools.
Buzzfeed reached out to Regency Enterprises, one of the film’s producers, who confirmed the campaign in a statement: “‘A Cure for Wellness’ is a movie about a ‘fake’ cure that makes people sicker,” reads the statement. “As part of this campaign, a ‘fake’ wellness site healthandwellness.co was created and we partnered with a fake news creator to publish fake news.”
The five sites are Sacramento Dispatch, Salt Lake City Guardian, Houston Leader, NY Morning Post and Indianapolis Gazette. A fake story about Lady Gaga planning a tribute to Muslims during her Super Bowl performance has garnered the strongest reaction so far, with tens of thousands Facebook shares, reactions and comments.
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Buzzfeed asked Regency follow-up questions, like whether the articles are generating revenue or if they have misgivings about the implications of disseminating false information to promote a movie, but didn’t immediately receive a response. Read the full report here.