A Cure of Wellness set up fake news sites to promote the film

The sites - which contained hoax articles on subjects such as vaccinations, Donald Trump, and Lady Gaga - have since been deleted

Clarisse Loughrey
Tuesday 14 February 2017 15:28 GMT

20th Century Fox's new horror thriller may premise itself on a world where no one can be trusted - but that seems to have infiltrated the film's marketing campaign as well.

A Cure for Wellness, directed by Gore Verbinski, sees Dane DeHaan play a ruthless young executive sent to retrieve his company's CEO from a strange, secluded "wellness centre" located in the midst of the Swiss Alps; a place whose approach to health care seems overtly sinister, as a bizarre mystery soon begins to unfold.

Buzzfeed now reports the marketing campaign for the film created five fake local news sites, inserting promotional references to the film within a string of constructed hoaxes, and alongside ads for the film and for a fictional water brand.

Which may seem relatively innocuous - clever, even - except for the fact some of the more politically-flavoured posts actually tricked both internet users and conservatives sites alike. An article which claimed that Donald Trump had implemented a temporary ban on vaccinations, for example, was shared widely on Facebook by anti-vaccine parents.

Meanwhile, an article which claimed Lady Gaga was set to perform a tribute to Muslims as part of her Super Bowl performance was picked up by the likes of Red State Watcher and 100PercentFedUp.com.

An example of one of five fake news sites created in conjunction with the marketing campaign for A Cure for Wellness
An example of one of five fake news sites created in conjunction with the marketing campaign for A Cure for Wellness (Salt Lake City Guardian)

However, the sites have since been deleted, with the homepages of each of the five sites - Sacramento Dispatch, Salt Lake City Guardian, Houston Leader, NY Morning Post, Indianapolis Gazette, and fake wellness site healthandwellness.co - all now redirecting to the film's main site.

A spokesperson for Regency Enterprises, who are producing the film, released a statement: "A Cure for Wellness is a movie about a ‘fake’ cure that makes people sicker. As part of this campaign, a ‘fake’ wellness site healthandwellness.co was created and we partnered with a fake news creator to publish fake news."

A Cure For Wellness - Trailer 2

A Cure for Wellness hits UK cinemas 24 February.

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