That Bizarre ‘Date Our Son’ Buick Regal Listing Is Really an Ad for a Movie

There’s no low-mileage Buick Regal waiting for you here—just an ad campaign for a new romcom starring Jennifer Lawrence.

byJames Gilboy|
Viral film marketing campaign promising a 2004 Buick Regal to someone willing to date a couple's son
Date Our Son on Facebook


Advertising's insidious creep into every facet of our culture has left many people today cynical of everything they see. That goes even for things they see their friends share on social media, like the viral ad promising a low-mileage 2004 Buick Regal to anyone willing to date the poster's son. Unfortunately, the cynics have read this one right, because it turns out to just be a viral marketing campaign for an upcoming romantic comedy called No Hard Feelings—and if you've shared it, you've been tricked into taking part.

Promising a 2004 Buick Regal with 40,000 miles and no rust to anyone willing to patronize the poster's "smart but socially shy" son, the ad spread across multiple social media platforms over the last day. The listing was boosted as sponsored content on Facebook and Reddit before spreading to other platforms like TikTok and Twitter, and has even been placed physically in multiple cities across the United States.

Hot 96.9 reports flyers for the ad have been distributed in Boston, Massachusets while a Reddit commenter reports seeing it on a billboard in Oakland, California. One TikTok video even shows it taped to a college's notice board, with one commenter reporting seeing similar at "KU," presumably the University of Kansas.

It's obvious to anyone that there's a conspicuous amount of effort (and money) being put into this ad campaign, especially for what amounts to a personal ad posted by someone's parents. And as suspicious commenters on Reddit guessed, there was something more afoot.

After a negative response on Reddit, site administrators confirmed the ads to be part of a viral marketing campaign for an upcoming film. The cat wasn't meant to be let out of the bag until Thursday however, according to an automated response from the email address in the ad.

"Hiyaa! Thanks for your interest in 'dating' our son. We have had a lot of responses already, but plan to make our final decision Thursday, March 9th. We'll be in touch soon! Allison & Laird," reads the response we received.

Still, the ad rubs enough people the wrong way that Reddit had to come clean to its users early, spoiling the hype. Perhaps it'll poison public interest when people learn they've been tricked into making their friends view an ad; an inherently value-negative medium.

That probably won't be the case, though. Without saying too much, the film being advertised has the same premise as the listing, showing that it appeals to audiences with the same merit. Going by the Buick ad's popularity on social media, most people don't know they're being advertised to. Caring on the other hand? That's another matter entirely, and odds are the Venn diagram of angry people on the internet and moviegoers is pretty small.

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