PR Weighs in on Sony’s The Interview Move

This morning The New York Post — which happens to be owned by the same company that once owned Sony’s prime competitor, 20th Century Fox — just told us that the scene that caused the world to, in the words of writer/cybersecurity expert Peter Singer, “lose our shit” has leaked.

Here, then, is a screenshot from your Kim Jong Un death scene, set (of course) to Katy Perry:

kim jong

That was relatively tame. (And no, the leak isn’t new — it’s just interesting to note that the Post chose to run it.) So what does PR think about the studio’s decision to pull the film entirely?

First, we can all stop joking about whether this whole incident was a stunt — it clearly was not. But Singer says that “we are in the realm of beyond stupid with this” because no one has any evidence that the groups responsible for the hack have anything approaching the ability to attack the United States. As evidence of public sentiment shifting strongly against Sony, plenty of people took the opportunity to mock what is, in many ways, a very serious story:

This morning our colleagues at PRNews asked, “is caving in a PR strategy?” and the answer would seem to be yes. As to whether it’s an effective strategy, most seem to say the opposite. Here’s a good take:

That’s obviously true. Some thoughts from friend of the site Lloyd Trufelman, president of New York’s Trylon SMR:

If Sony had any guts, since they now basically have to write off the movie, they’d quietly get a digital print of The Interview to some hacker who would BitTorrent it all across the Internet so the whole world could see it, especially a version with Korean subtitles!

In their attempts to quash the film, the North Korean government has given it it incredible worldwide publicity, so online viewership would be huge, and Sony could then (quietly) enjoy the payback to Kim Jong Un. Apparently the North Koreans didn’t understand the the best thing they could have done was nothing, as this crappy movie otherwise would have disappeared from theaters after a weekend or two and thus be forgotten….

We doubt that Sony would do that, but one thing is clear: interest in this movie is now far greater than it ever could have been before — and people will watch it one way or another.

What do we think? How could the studio make the most of an obviously bad situation?

@PatrickCoffee Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.
Publish date: December 18, 2014 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT