Unless you’ve been avoiding social media, and the internet in general, for the past couple of weeks, you will have undoubtedly bore witness to the latest viral sensation taking our computer screens by storm. In a fantastically creepy promo for the upcoming remake of Stephen King’s ‘Carrie’, New York coffee shop goers are made privy to a seemingly spontaneous telekinetic outbreak. The looks on the customers faces are priceless and – for a change – it’s not difficult to imagine these are real people, rather than actors.

It’s a brilliantly creative marketing ploy, but it is the not the first of it’s kind. Indeed, ‘Prankverts’ have been doing the viral laps for some time now, stopping hearts and increasing blood pressure of viewers and participants everywhere. But what makes these cruel creations such sadistic successes? Well, everybody loves a prank – providing that they’re not the ones being pranked. The key commonality of all viral videos is that they provoke some sort of emotional response. Indifference isn’t going to prompt anyone to hit the ‘share’ button, but total shock, cheek-straining laughter, or something that makes you ugly-cry will do the trick.

Brands are constantly on the look out for ways to connect to their audience on a more personal level. The ‘Prankvert’ is a great way of evoking a sense of humour – something we all have, and something we can all connect to. LG, Pepsi and Nivea have all reaped the rewards these videos can bring, so without further adieu, let’s take a look at some of the most successful ‘Prankvert’ campaigns.

LG – Ultra Reality

In this particularly cruel video, LG stage the interview from hell.

Pepsi – Test Drive

Pepsi and F1 driver Jeff Gordon team up to take one unsuspecting salesman on the test drive of his life.

Nivea – Airport Stress Test

To help promote it’s line of ‘stress protect’ products, Nivea targeted some innocent patrons in an airport lounge.