Sony faces fallout from faux reviews

CULVER CITY, CA: The old one-two in movie marketing is as old as

the hills above Hollywood. The publicist gets reviews; the ad department

uses "edited" highlights (or "raves") for ad promos on posters and

commercials. But what happens if the raves are made up? It's a story, of


An ad exec at Columbia Pictures has been fingered for creating bogus

testimonials for movie posters, in a Newsweek expose. Since last July,

the unnamed staffer at Columbia, which is owned by Sony Pictures

Entertainment, had been making up quotes and attributing them to "David

Manning" of Connecticut's Ridgefield Press. Sony spokeswoman Susan Tick

declined to comment to PRWeek.

Many publicists have railed at the revelation. Jeremy Walker, of New

York-based Jeremy Walker + Associates and publicist for The Blair Witch

Project, The Full Monty and American Psycho, said studios have pursued

quotes from journalists for decades, but he has never heard of anyone

making up quotes before.

"If I were a publicist at Sony, I'd make a point to reach out to every

film critic in my region and let them know that not only were we really

embarrassed by what this person in the advertising department did all on

his own, but I would also reassure the critics that we really care what

they think, good and bad," said Walker.

Sony, which is now under investigation by the Connecticut state attorney

general, should not have allowed one employee such autonomy, said Marla

Matzer Rose, film and marketing reporter for the Hollywood Reporter.

"Someone should have caught on or known," said Rose. "They should look

into making sure somebody double-checks the names of the publications

and reviewers they use."

Thomas Nash, publisher of The Ridgefield Press, said he is more amused

than concerned over all the press attention to his Fairfield County

(population 65,000) weekly newspaper.

"Sony did call to apologize, and I thought that was appropriate," said


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