[EDITORIALS]Dirty tricks in movieland

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[EDITORIALS]Dirty tricks in movieland

The course of events surrounding the promotion strategy for the comedy movie "Boss X File" is deplorable. Before the release of the film, the production company publicized it by trumpeting the film's storyline: a draft-dodging scandal involving a son of a presidential candidate, giving the impression that the flick was based on the real-life controversy, in which the presidential candidate of the Grand National Party, Lee Hoi-chang, is involved. Faced with strong protests from the GNP, the producers said it was just a public-relations strategy.

To publicize the movie, which is about bar hostesses thwarting a crime organization's attempt to enter politics, the filmmaker sent a number of people donned in police uniforms into the streets, handing out advertisement leaflets. The handouts said, "Don't vote for these kind of people in the December presidential election." It also ran ads in newspapers, saying "The Public Prosecutors Office Opens a Room Salon." A public relations official for the movie admitted that the intention was to make people mistake the movie campaign as a real one.

Considering that the purpose of public relations is to persuade people with facts to get positive results, publicists for the movie abandoned the most basic professional ethics.

In Korean society, there has been an increasingly negative tendency to seek publicity by any means, as people have become more aware of the power of public relations. Such attitudes, which hurt the public's ability to make sound judgments, are extremely dangerous. Movies are important media that comment on social realities. If filmmakers are obsessed with seeking publicity by exploiting what is not even in a movie, it will not help matters for the future of Korea's film industry.

The Grand National Party also helped the movie's ill-intended promotional strategy by alleging, without even seeing the film, that the movie was made to attack the party's presidential candidate. As long as there are groups that are hypersensitive about trifling rumors, there is no stopping film promoters from yielding to the temptation to hype their products. In modern society, businesses and individuals need various strategies. We need to introduce a system for training public relations professionals.
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