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Monday, 18 June, 2001, 17:36 GMT 18:36 UK
Sony admits fake fans on ad
Mel Gibson in The Patriot
The Patriot was one of the year's top 20 box office hits
Sony Pictures has admitted that two fans used in a television advertisement for their film The Patriot were not fans at all - but worked for the company's marketing department.

The revelation comes after Sony also conceded that it had used made-up quotes on posters for two other films.


It's not only Sony and everybody is acknowledging that those testimonial ads tend to be actors anyway

Susan Tick
Sony
But a Sony spokeswoman said such marketing ploys were common throughout the industry.

Sony will now stop using testimonial ads, where fans give glowing reviews to the camera.

"It's terribly wrong, I acknowledge that," said Sony's Susan Tick.

"But the fact that it's not only Sony and everybody is acknowledging that those testimonial ads tend to be actors anyway."

Tamaya Petteway, who works for Sony's worldwide marketing department, was seen in the ad telling viewers that The Patriot was the "perfect date movie!" while her colleague Anthony Jefferson pretended to be her date.

Ms Tick said the pair were "secretaries who were better than the actors".

Ploy

The two employees are still working for the company, as are those behind the ad.

Some have seen the unorthodox marketing plan as more devious because Petteway and Jefferson are black, and The Patriot was criticised for "whitewashing" slave history.

Director Spike Lee said: "For three hours, The Patriot dodged around, skirted about or completely ignored slavery."

"I kept wondering where are the slaves? Who's picking the cotton?"

Box office hit

The Patriot, starring Mel Gibson and Heath Ledger and about a war hero during the American revolution, opened at cinemas last summer.

It earned more than $113m (80m) at American box offices, making it one of the 20 biggest hits of the year.

Sony recently admitted that marketing executives made up a reviewer whose quotes "Another winner!" and "This year's hottest new star!" were used on posters to promote films The Animal and A Knight's Tale.

Sony conceded that The Ridgefield Press' David Manning does not exist.

See also:

05 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Disney and Sony lead worldwide takings
07 Jun 01 | Film
Inquiry into fake film critic
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