This week, A Cure For Wellness got some much-needed attention when its marketing campaign promoting fake news in order to promote the film caught scrutiny on social media and beyond. The criticism got so harsh that 20th Century Fox, the studio behind the film, ended up issuing an apology which read:
“In raising awareness for our films, we do our best to push the boundaries of traditional marketing in order to creatively express our message to consumers. In this case, we got it wrong. The digital campaign was inappropriate on every level, especially given the trust we work to build every day with our consumers. We have reviewed our internal approval process and made appropriate changes to ensure that every part of a campaign is elevated to and vetted by management in order to avoid this type of mistake in the future. We sincerely apologize.”
The controversy surrounded about half a dozen websites created by backers of the film, under names like Sacramento Dispatch, Salt Lake City Guardian, Houston Leader, NY Morning Post, and Indianapolis Gazette — to post stories about purported news events, many of which involved President Trump.
Among the fictional tales designed as click-bait for readers: Trump secretly meeting with Vladimir Putin, Trump banning vaccinations, and Trump refusing to send aid to a California disaster area. There was no hint the stories were made up. Embedded in the pieces were suggestions that readers send objections about the purported actions, using hashtags like