All Those Canadian Netflix Fans? Actors, Actually

Company 'embarrassed' by PR gaffe
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 23, 2010 10:07 AM CDT
Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, announces Netflix's expansion to Toronto, Canada, Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2010.   (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Adrien Veczan)

(Newser) – Reporters at an event celebrating Netflix’s arrival in Canada were surprised to discover that all the supposed “subscribers” milling about and talking about how awesome Netflix is were actually hired actors. Whoops! A spokesperson later said the company was “embarrassed” and never meant to trick reporters, but somehow the actors ended up with written instructions telling them to give fake interviews touting the rental service.

Unable to get a permit to shut down an entire street for the celebration in Toronto, the company decided to get a film permit and film a fake documentary instead. The actors were supposed to attract a crowd to the event, and apparently weren’t supposed to be misleading reporters … even though their instruction sheet, obtained by the AP, suggests they should fill stereotypical roles like “mothers, film buffs, tech geeks, couch potatoes.” The embarrassing news comes just as Netflix rival Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy.

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