How Not to Build Buzz
When the publicist for Ghost Rider offered free tickets for Dynamist readers, I asked whether there were any geographic limitations. No problem, I was told. "The tickets are valid in the United States and specific to the winner's location. There will be a specific theater for the winner to go to, corresponding to their city. The viewing will be a couple days before the release on Feb 16, 2007." That's what I repeated when I announced the contest. But it wasn't true.
Instead of movie passes, as "winner" John Tabin reported on his own blog, "FedEx...dropped off a couple of Ghost Rider hats and wallets. Yeah, I know you can hardly contain your jealousy." Sony provided no explanation either to the winners or to me. When I inquired, the publicist told me, "What happened was that it was difficult for Sony Pictures' to find a screening location in your winners' cities. Basically, their respective city did not offer any screening locations so what we did was send out Ghost Rider promotions such as shirts, caps, etc. Therefore, your winners received the products instead of the unavailable screening passes."
Both winners live in the Washington, DC, area--hardly an obscure hamlet in flyover land. The publicity firm (not to be confused with deadbeat Sony) says they'll try to send passes to the next movie they promote. That's nice of them, but not what we had in mind.
I'll give winner David Noziglia the last word: "And the gifts, if they ask, suck. Thank you for selecting me, but there should be some word out there that Sony can't be trusted. By that I mean that they lied to you."