Wednesday, August 10, 2005

truth in advertising

Read this article. It is perhaps the greatest article ever! I'll wait . . .

What kind of class-action-litigation-lobby shill wrote this line, "Movie-goers, upset at the scam, filed a class action lawsuit in a Los Angeles court."? Right. I'm sure there was no thought of getting something for nothing. As I understand it, the initial claimants of a class-action suit tend to do a little better than the subsequent class (who are scoring a whole 5 bucks out of the deal). And even the initial claimants don't make out as well as the lawyers. Besides, what kind of morons are these people depicting themselves to be? I assume they are not such drooling idiots that they were actually able to locate a law office to find a lawyer, so presumably they are savvy enough to resist the one-line persuasions of some movie advertisement.

How can you sue for this? If you were The Ridgefield Press, sure you should be able to sue for slander, but someone who went to the movie can sue Sony for a fake review? Isn't that what marketing is? Can I sue Coors Light for yielding me exactly ZERO sets of twins? Can I sue Prince for not partying with me like it's 1999? More importantly, can my readers sue me for failing to be "marginally clever"?

Admittedly, Sony is dumb for making up a reporter. Why they couldn't set-up some shell corporation subsidiary to Sony and employ it with exaclty one person - the guy who did the "reviewing" - is beyond me. Hell, they could even outsource it to me. Hey Sony, I will do your reviews. I'll create a website called Trustworthy Movie Reviews Weekly. I will pre-write, succinct, quality reviews that will fit nicely over a picture depicting your movie. I promise to ALWAYS make my reviews exclamations, so as to demonstrate the proper level of excitement for your film. Then, for a small, negotiable fee you can come to my website and select from the list of reviews; add them to the picture of your choice and viola! masses and masses of people will be flocking to the box office all because of my compelling, seemingly mind-controlling, review.

I've already started working on them. Here's a sampling:
  • I laughed so hard I peed my pants! Twice!

  • I will personally kill anyone who misses this movie!

  • Only a surly, joyless cynic like Roger Ebert wouldn't enjoy this movie!

  • The feel-good hit of the summer and it's January!

  • I exhumed my dead great-uncle because I knew he would want to see this amazing movie!

  • The plot was a little weak, but damn was there stuff blowing up!

  • I haven't seen a film this riveting since The Adventures of Mary-Kate & Ashley: The Case of the Hotel Who-Done-It!

  • This movie was so scary I had to move back into my parents' house and sleep in their bed!

  • A shocking political thriller that will make you want to beat the crap out of your congressman!


  • This movie wasn't very good, but hey, naked chicks!

  • Have you tried heroin? Half as mind-blowing as this picture!

  • Segway - don't walk - to a theater near you - immediately!

  • Did Jesus write this movie? Because it is heavenly!

For a slighty higher fee, I could customize my "reviews" for your movie. Here are some more examples:

I look forward to hearing from you.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alan says...
It's "Foxx" not "Fox." I wouldn't want you to slander Fairview Park's own Jamie Fox.

8:01 PM

Blogger NewYorkMoments said...


It looks live you've missed your calling...

5:13 AM

Blogger Joe said...

I've trusted your movie reviews before, Roger, and I'm not going to fall for them again.

8:37 AM

Blogger roger said...

Alan - I will end you! No, I thought of that after I turned my computer off. theMonica was making me dinner, so I had to go. I'll fix it later and pretend like it was never wrong.

NYM - You totally went out and saw those movie. I know it!

Joe - Resistance is futile. Succumb to the irresistible (hence the futility of resistance) persuasive powers of my movie reviews!

10:15 AM

Blogger Hammy said...

You're a funny dude Roger. I would have thought that Sony having set up a reporter (couldn't read the article as it had been archived) was only as believable and irresponsible as a pharmaceutical company setting up an "unscripted" commercial telling you how well their product works.

Shouldn't it be more the case that a regulatory body should have a say in it and not the public who didn't suffer from what happened? Surely you can't sue if you haven't been personally deceived and mislead?

Oh, that means most marketing companies would be sued over the commercials that they produce and the lies they portray. There is almost no truth in advertsing these days.

I loved your movie descriptions.

8:09 AM

Blogger roger said...

Hammy: Thanks. I updated the link to something that hopefully won't be archived after a day.

You've asked a lot of good questions that I'm wholly unqualified to answer, but I will anyway.

It's a weird case. Sony created ads for a reporter that didn't exist. The newspaper exists, but doesn't have a person with that name. You have to have seen the movies to be eligible for the 5 bucks. Presumably, everybody keeps the ticket stubs to all the crappy movies they've seen, right?

Adverstising is beholden to what they call the "reasonable man" standard. Would a "reasonable man" be deceived into thinking using product X would make him handsome and irresistible to the ladies? (Prior to that it was an ignorant man standard.) You would think the same would apply in this case, even though the journalist didn't actually exist. But, I guess not. I mean, can I sue the REAL guys that say a movie is good and I disagree? At any rate, at least the trial attorneys made a mint off of it.

5:43 PM


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