“The Patriot”: … Don’t believe the hype — and that goes for Spike Lee, too.
Maybe they should change the name from Sony to phony.
Just a week after the studio grudgingly admitted its advertising executives faked a film critic in print ads for several of its movies, Sony’s facing another in-house case of fakery.
Daily Variety reports the studio passed off two of its employees as faux fans in commercials hyping last year’s “The Patriot.”
The fraud was perpetrated in nationally televised spots for the Sony/Columbia Pictures’ Revolutionary War epic starring Mel Gibson, according to the trade paper. Apparently, some marketing executive thought it’d be cute to interview two of the studio’s workers and have them pretend to be moviegoers who had just seen the film.
And their response? It’s the “perfect date movie!” gushed Sony employee Tamaya Petteway in the spots, which aired on NBC and CBS. Petteway works in Columbia’s marketing department as assistant to the executive vice president of creative advertising, Dana Precious. Her “date” in the ads was poser number two–Anthony Jefferson, who works in the studio’s finance department.
The duo’s testimonials aired as part of so-called “reaction spots”–a montage of interviews outside theaters that show fans who’ve purportedly just seen the movie and give the kind of over-exaggerated praise that studio marketeers just die for. …
Now here’s where it gets really thick.
The spots are also coming under scrutiny for a practice known within the industry as “affirmatives”–where affirmative action plays a role in deciding which testimonials are included in a commercial.
“The Patriot” had come under fire from Spike Lee and other prominent African Americans for ignoring the issue of slavery in colonial times. Petteway and Jefferson are black, as was one of the other interviewees in the ad, which featured 32 moviegoers in all.