An upcoming film is using a semi-deceptive advertisement for a “free car” as a way to promote their movie.
Many have recently reported seeing billboards and online ads proclaiming: “Need a car? ‘Date’ our Son.”
“He’s smart but socially very shy. ‘Date’ him and bring him out of his shell before he leaves for college. In exchange we’ll give you a 2004 Buick Regal. Clean, rust-free, 40k miles. Serious inquiries only: DateOurSon@gmail.com,” the ads read, according to Cracked.com.
Sponsored ad on Facebook 😆🤣🤣 pic.twitter.com/mNg7APo14d
— Renee Lee Greco (@Sunshine910001) March 8, 2023
Unfortunately for those looking to cash in, the ad is fake and is actually a promotion for an upcoming movie: the R-rated comedy “No Hard Feelings.”
Many online have complained about the deceptive billboards and asked why this form of marketing was allowed — particularly since no mention of the movie was made in the ads.
Those who emailed the address reported receiving a rather vague, automated response.
Is this billboard unethical?
Yes: 97% (33 Votes)
No: 3% (1 Votes)
“Hiyaa! Thanks for your interest in ‘dating’ our son. We have had a lot of responses already, but plan to make our final decision Thursday, March 9th. We’ll be in touch soon! Allison & Laird,” the email said at the time, Cracked reported.
In an unusual way, the email was actually telling people to watch out for their movie trailer, which hadn’t been released yet, but eventually was on March 9.
The film in question, starring Jennifer Lawrence, follows the same plot as the billboards.
According to the film’s description on IMDB, Matthew Broderick and Laura Benanti play the role of two rich parents who put out an ad on Craigslist looking to pay someone to date their socially awkward son, played by Andrew Barth Feldman.
Lawrence, a sleazy Uber driver whose car is suddenly repossessed, accepts the job and leads Feldman through several indecent and lewd adventures often associated with dating, such as drinking, skinny dipping and partying.
Aside from the already raunchy nature of the film, some have questioned why Lawrence, whose real age is 32, is seducing Feldman’s character, who, according to Screen Rant, is 13 years younger.
As Screen Rant reported, “Some are accusing the film of promoting grooming because of the large age difference between characters, and even though 18 is the legal age of consent in the United States, [Feldman] acts a lot younger in the trailer.”
They also noted that the trailer very clearly show Feldman’s character is hesitant or resistant to the things Lawrence is often trying to push him into.
However, while some may take offense at the message of the movie or the advertising methods used to spread it, Screen Rant noted that the film may be relying on its controversy to provide them with free advertising in online conversation.
Ultimately, “No Hard Feelings” may be a flop like many of the movies Hollywood has been releasing lately, but we won’t know until its release on June 23.