Trickster Places Hoax Ad In Papers -- Seattle And Miami Newspapers Fooled
Times Staff: AP
A media trickster has fooled the Miami Herald and The Seattle Times advertising departments.
On Wednesday, three days after actress Elizabeth Taylor's marriage to Larry Fortensky, a half-page advertisement, valued at $14,332.50, ran in the Miami Herald. It consisted of the word "Forever," along with the names of Taylor and Rory Emerald and the New York address of the NBC network.
Today, a full-page advertisement featuring the question, "Who is Rory Emerald?" ran in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, whose advertising and printing are handled by The Times under a joint operating agreement.
The same ad was scheduled to run today in The Times until the hoax was discovered before the printing of its first edition, said Times National Advertising Manager Roy Schaefer. The cost of running a full-page advertisement in both newspapers for one day can reach $19,000, he said.
The false ad was not paid for and advance payment was not required because Paramount Studios has what amounts to an open account with The Times, Schaefer said.
Schaefer said The Times' national advertising department received a telephone call yesterday from a woman who identified herself as Carolyn Weinstein at Paramount.
Schaefer said the woman said they wanted to place an ad in both papers to promote a movie to be released soon featuring a Seattle-area actress.
"This did not seem unusual," Schaefer said. "Paramount is very creative, and this did not seem unusual for them. The call came almost on our deadline, so we had to check to see if we could make the space arrangements. We determined we could and then we called her back and obtained the copy for the ad."
"You need to understand that we probably deal with about 30 different people at Paramount because each movie has its own creative and advertising staffs," he said.
Since then Schaefer has tried to call Weinstein back but has only been able to leave a voice mail message at the telephone number used previously. "Obviously, this is someone who has done some research and knows about the system," he said.
Schaefer said he does not yet know if a complaint will be filed with Seattle police for fraud or whether legal action will be initiated by The Times.
A slightly different hoax was used in Miami. The Herald's national sales assistant, Frank Greene, said someone identifying herself as Jody Preston of NBC had called on Tuesday to order the advertisement.
"She said Elizabeth Taylor and this guy - what's his name? Rory Emerald? - were going to be making a promotional appearance in Palm Beach and Miami to promote this `Forever' product or whatever it was," Greene said. "I think it was a perfume, I don't know."
Greene told the woman he could not place the ad until the newspaper's national advertising representatives in New York got a check from NBC. Later Tuesday, the newspaper's advertising department got a call from someone claiming to be one of the Herald's ad representatives, who said a check had arrived and it was all right to run the ad.
On Wednesday, it turned out there was no check and the real New York representative had never called.
"We don't have a Jody Preston at NBC," said spokesman Richard Cutting.
Copyright (c) 1991 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.