new film 'a cure for wellness’ used fake news sites for viral marketing

The movie about fake health treatments, planted fakes stories, on fake websites — keeping up?

by Georgie Bretherton
15 February 2017, 4:23am

The much hyped new psychological thriller A Cure For Wellness has faced criticism this week for a controversial marketing campaign that saw them team up with Regency Enterprises to promote the film through fake news sites.

For anyone not aware these sites are independently run pages that publish fabricated and click-bait content, but are made to appear as authentic news outlets. They became a huge discussion point last year through their support of Trump, and role in creating and spreading damaging rumours about his opponent Hillary Clinton. Since taking office, the new President has since adopted the term - although he's not referring to dummy sites, but rather legitimate platforms like CNN who publish coverage he doesn't agree with.

The marketing team behind A Cure For Wellness obviously saw the fake news trend as a golden opportunity, and utilised it in the film's promotion. The studio reportedly partnered with a fake news creator to publish fake stories that would subtly promote their movie across several domains.

Many of the these articles appear unrelated to the film: one was about Trump banning childhood vaccinations, another claimed Lady Gaga was planning "a tribute to Muslims" during her Super Bowl performance. But embedded among these stories are slightly more movie-relevant articles, such as a post about Trump and Putin visiting a mysterious facility together in Switzerland. They were accompanied by more obvious ads and websites banners for the film.

As of today, the posts made to promote A Cure For Wellness are down. While any support given to these platforms is obviously deeply problematic, the move is an incredibly meta comment on the way we absorb information in 2017. Considering the film deals with similar notions in the health and lifestyle industries, you can see what they were going for.

Our advice, maybe next time make your veiled criticisms a little less subtle and always beware of fake news in any form - no matter how ironic.


Image via IMDB

fake news
A Cure for Wellness