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