Film plug at graduation

Film plug at graduation - Wall Street Journal JULY 28, 2009

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Wall Street Journal JULY 28, 2009 Fellow Graduates, Before We Greet  The Future, a Word From My Sponsor Marketers Get School's Valedictorian to Plug Movie in Her Speech, but  the Flick Still Flops By ETHAN SMITH and SABRINA SHANKMAN Last month, 18-year-old Kenya Mejia closed her valedictory address at  Los Angeles's Alexander Hamilton High School on a startling note:  publicly professing a secret passion for a classmate. "I cannot let this opportunity just pass by," said Ms. Mejia, who is to  enroll at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the fall. "I love  you, Jake Minor!" The crowd roared. Mr. Minor stood and pumped his fists in the air. A  few days later, Ms. Mejia cashed a check for $1,800. The commotion Ms. Mejia created was actually part of a ploy cooked  up by marketing executives and consultants for Twentieth Century  Fox, the Hollywood studio whose headquarters is less than two miles  from Hamilton High. The goal of the plot, which included a marketing company called the  Intelligence Group and at least one other contractor, was to create a  "viral" buzz online for the romantic comedy "I Love You, Beth Cooper."  The movie opens with an unassuming valedictorian using his  graduation speech to proclaim his feelings for the most popular girl in  school. Fox and its consultants hatched the ruse to recreate the scene  at a real high school before the film's July 10 opening, say people  familiar with the matter, in hopes of creating online chatter about the  way the movie supposedly inspired copycats.
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The incident represents an increasingly common Hollywood tactic:  staging events that look spontaneous to inspire online buzz. "Brüno," a Universal Pictures comedy that opened the same day as 
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Film plug at graduation - Wall Street Journal JULY 28, 2009

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