Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
David Manning (writer)
David Manning was a fictitous film critic, created by a marketing executive working for Sony around July 2000. He was created to give consistently good reviews for releases from Sony subsidiary Columbia Pictures. Several blurbs posted under the name "David Manning" were written for the medieval action/drama A Knight's Tale (citing Heath Ledger as "this year's hottest new star!") and Rob Schneider's comedy The Animal ("Another winner!"), which generally received poor reviews amongst real critics.
Newsweek reporter John Horn discovered that the Ridgefield Press , the paper that Manning had been "working" for, had never actually heard of him. He disclosed the truth about Manning in an article printed in June 2001. The article came around the same time as an announcement that Sony had used employees posing as moviegoers in television commercials to praise Mel Gibson's film The Patriot. These occurrences, in tandem, raised questions and controversy about ethics in movie marketing practices.
- John Horn. "The Reviewer Who Wasn't There; Sony resorts to some questionable marketing practices to promote new movies." Newsweek Web Exclusive. June 2, 2001.
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