Those of you who have been following our guerilla war against marketing departments who pretend to be consumers when recommending their own product know full well that last month we busted the Universal marketing department making fraudulent customer testimonials on this website (as well as every other movie website known to man). While we've been gathering hard evidence with which to skewer Universal and other movie studios for crimes they've been perpetrating against us for years (and boy howdy, have we found some great stuff, which you'll all read soon enough, just as soon as we get some confirming done), but today something that takes this to a whole new level happened, on national TV no less.
The marketing folks behind a new ABC TV series, Push Nevada, had a team of actors stand outside the Good Morning America studio pretending to be a high school hockey team from Push Nevada this morning. When weatherman Tony Perkins interviewed the supposed team, they all yelled about how they love Push Nevada and cheered like real people. Why is this insidious?
Because crap like this (http://forums.sciflicks.com/showthread.php?s=724577da6d53949d15996fed1aba69e6&threadid=5680&highlight=push) has been going on at websites around the country for days now, with marketing shills trying to pretend to be fans and pushing the name 'Push Nevada' anywhere they can. Sometimes it's just a straight question about whether anyone knows the show, other times it's fake testimonials about how they're looking forward to it. But in every case, it amounts to using other people's property to attempt to get free advertising while engaging in fraud.
This has happened on:
The SciFlicks.com forums
A Buffy the Vampire Slayer discussion board
The Media and Games Online Network
The Deathwish Skateboards forum
The RevolutionSF.com forums
Now, this is some pretty weak crap the marketing hacks are pulling here. Aside from the fact that the Good Morning America execs were less than impressed by being made a fool of on their own show, by a show on their very own network (and giving out a free ad in the process), the legalities of this and other such acts are also borderline. A spokesman for the network told Variety, "This is a show that is very different and we are trying to market it in a different way, [the marketing company involved] didn't take into account the kinds of questions that could arise by enacting this sort of strategy within the same company (airing the show)." The spokesman seems to not care that whether the two shows share the same network home is irrelevant. By engaging in these marketing practices, GMA execs are far from the only ones being messed about by this activity - the people who are sucked in by these queries, and the website owners unknowingly giving out free ads, are also brought into the unholy mess.
The question is simple - does an employee of a company posing as a customer and giving a false testimonial about a product warrant charges being laid against that company, and those people responsible? The answer is a very big yes, and Sony Pictures got reamed in the courts for pulling this kind of stunt on TV last year. The precedent is undeniably clear.
And if Excutive Producer of the show Ben Affleck, who has just given his girlfriend a $250,000 sports car by the way, doesn't have the spare change to actually BUY ads on these websites, he should stop his employees and contractors from stealing those ads - immediately.
But the deception goes further than this. Various news outlets have been faxed an official-looking press release this week from the "Push, Nevada, Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau." The release hyped the fact that local merchants were doing a booming business now that the ABC series "Push, Nevada" was filming in Push - a town that doesn't exist, by the way. What's more, "hitchhikers" have been spotted around Los Angeles carrying signs reading "Push, Nevada or Bust."
Give me a god damn break. Yes, we realize that by mentioning this story we have just given these shills the coverage they covet, but that doesn't mean we have to watch the show. So as a means of striking back against illegal and unethical marketing tactics, we here at HollywoodBitchslap.com are asking all thinking, caring TV viewers (yes, all twelve of you, if American Idol's ratings are any guide) to boycott Push Nevada. Never watch a single frame of it. If these people learn that for every converted viewer they get, they'll lose another, then they'll quit this tired scam and start paying for the ad space they use.
Don't be a victim of deceptive marketing. Fight back. Boycott Push Nevada.
Stay tuned for more in the fight against fraudulent marketing execs when we begin to reveal the damning evidence collected against a host of Hollywood film studios in the months ahead.
link directly to this feature at http://www.efilmcritic.com/feature.php?feature=616
originally posted: 09/07/02 09:13:27
last updated: 09/07/02 09:16:16