General News

Will studios adopt "truth in advertising"?

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Jun 20, 2001 | 10:20am EDT

The revelation that Sony invented a fictitious critic to laud four of its films in ad copy and later used its own employees in supposedly authentic man-in-the-street interviews about two other films is causing the industry to reexamine its marketing strategies, the Washington Post reported Wednesday. The newspaper said that three other studios, Universal, Artisan, and 20th Century Fox, have acknowledged that they have used paid actors in testimonial ads. It quoted an unnamed studio executive as saying that other studios have probably done the same. "For anyone to say 'We've never done it' is really problematic, because then you'll start catching people lying," the executive said. DreamWorks' marketing head Terry Press told the Post that she tries not to run "junket quotes" in ads and "we don't call up people and ask them to say things." But, she added, "There's a lot of money riding on the opening of movies. And desperate times call for desperate measures."

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