A Cure For Wellness planted fake news in guerrilla marketing campaign

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May 2, 2017, 10:57 AM EDT (Updated)

Gore Verbinski's A Cure For Wellness promises to be a different type of horror story. So, they've put together a (ahem) different type of marketing campaign.

A Cure For Wellness, which opens this Friday, is about a young executive (Dan DeHaan) who visits a mysterious spa to pick up his boss and heads right down a terrifying rabbit hole. Buzzfeed reports that the film was using a fake news website to plant fake content that links back to the film, including a fake brand of water connected to the movie. The studio confirmed the campaign after it was sniffed out, and noted the film is about "a 'fake' cure that makes people sicker," so they put together a fake wellness site to tie into the film. The site has since been yanked and the link now leads to the film's official site.

The fake posts range from straight-up fictional stories, such as a claim that President Donald Trump had banned vaccinations, to a story about Lady Gaga honoring Muslims during her Super Bowl halftime show. Not surprisingly, a whole lot of people were fooled by these fake stories because media literacy is at an all-time low these days. The sites also include advertisements for companies and locations connected to the film.

This is certainly a … creative way to promote a film, but it's on a very slippery slope when you consider the fact that this Hollywood film is basically funding hoaxes and fake news that are becoming a real problem for people who can't discern fact from fiction. No, it's not the film's duty to make people smart enough to spot fake news, but it's also not really cool to literally throw money and actively make that problem worse. So, yeah. Your mileage may vary on this one.

What do you think of the campaign? Brilliant, or too far off the deep end?

(via BuzzFeed)