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An Internet Writer Breaks Up With Her Boyfriend Over Trump… You Won’t Believe What Happens Next!

Filed under: Fact or Fiction?, Fraud and Deception, Literary Hoaxes, Media Literacy, Propaganda and Disinformation

The ferocious and funny Anna Merlan takes an impressively deep dive into the made-up career of Rachel Brewson, the JT LeRoy of womens-interest clickbait.

“The Team of Men Behind Rachel Brewston, the Fake Woman Whose Trump-Fueled Breakup Went Viral”
by Anna Merlan
October 4, 2016

aotp_brewsonIn December 2015, readers at women”™s site xoJane were enthralled and filled with all-caps rage by Rachel Brewson, a self-described “giant liberal” who boldly declared her love for a Republican named Todd. She described, in rapturous terms, how the couple”™s political disagreements fueled an ecstatic third-date bipartisan fuck-fest that soon flowered into a real relationship.

Mid-date, they got into a “heated debate” about politics, Brewson wrote. They fought from wherever the date took place (she didn”™t say), into the street, and into a cab. The discussion ended when Todd””who, as it turned out, was a gun-loving, Iraq-war-supporting libertarian””manfully invited himself up to her apartment.

“What followed was the best sex of my life up to that point,” Brewson wrote, whose author bio said she was a “dating editor” at a site called Review Weekly. “Somehow the political tension between us had transformed into sexual tension. I was hooked.”

The post was a modest success””it was shared just under 3,000 times on social media, and racked up 1,000 comments on xoJane itself (whose editor-in-chief is Jane Pratt of Sassy fame. The site was purchased by Time. Inc last fall). Many of those comments complained about Rachel”™s privileged white-woman version of liberalism, which allowed her to ignore “petty differences”””her term””between her and Todd on issues like immigration.

“He flashed some money your way and you”™re ready to label things like rape culture and systematic racism as “˜petty differences,”™” one commenter fumed. “You aren”™t as liberal as you want to believe you are.”

Three months later, the fairytale was over. (more…)

Pranks That Sell

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Filed under: Co-option (If You Can't Beat 'Em...), Publicity Stunts

From Joe King

Why Terrifying Pranks Make the Best Advertising
by Claire Suddath
Business Week
November 1, 2013

A few weeks ago, a two-and-a-half minute video called Telekinetic Coffee Shop Surprise circulated online. The clip offered a behind-the-scenes look at how a team of filmmakers played a prank on unsuspecting New York City coffee shop patrons by building a fake wall, outfitting an actor with a wire and harness, and then cuing an actress to freak out in public and use her magical powers to suspend the guy in midair. The coffee shop was a real coffee shop”””™sNice in Manhattan”™s West Village””and the looks of horror on customers”™ faces were genuine. The prank was funny and fascinating, and has since been watched more than 46 million times on YouTube and discussed on both Good Morning America and CNN (TWX).

It”™s also, technically speaking, a commercial. Watch the video here.


The prank and resulting video were a promotional stunt for Sony Pictures”™ (SNE) Carrie remake; this becomes evident when the movie”™s title and release date appear at the end. It was produced by the viral marketing firm Thinkmodo, which in February made a similar promo for The Last Exorcism Part II. In that one, Thinkmodo scared hair salon customers by making the image of a possessed-looking woman appear whenever they looked in the mirror.

On the Today show, hosts Natalie Morales and Matt Lauer talked about the demon-in-the-mirror stunt and then pranked their own NBC correspondents with it. “That”™s millions of dollars worth of air time for our client, and it was free,” says James Percelay, co-founder of Thinkmodo. “We figured out a way to get their name mentioned without so much as a media buy.” (more…)