Advertising seems to have less and less of an effect on consumers every day. More people are skipping commercials while watching television programs, thanks to recording services like DVR and streaming services like Netflix. And online ads are easily ignored by Internet surfers. So companies today are looking for new ways to reach people.
Many are taking to the streets with guerrilla marketing campaigns that are designed to shock and awe those who experience their stunts live. And, if all goes well, videos of these stunts can go viral online through social media. Here are five of the best guerrilla marketing pranks:
1. Carrie Gets Coffee
Few people actually believe in telekinesis, the ability to move objects with your mind. But what if you actually watch it unfold in front of you? Well, as this promotional prank for the remake of the movie “Carrie” shows, most people will become believers â€” or at least terrified â€” if someone with telekinetic powers shows off her skills before their very eyes.
The setup for this prank was genius. They rigged the cafe with remote controls, pulleys and springs so it all looked horrifyingly real when a patron flips out and lifts a man off the ground and makes books fly off the shelf.
2. MorphCostumes Has a Mannequin Army
MorphCostumes makes a line of form-fitting body suits that cover a user from head to toe. When worn, the white versions make people look exactly like mannequins. So what better use is there than heading to a Gap store on 5th Avenue in New York City and standing around like statues to dupe customers? Apparently New York’s Finest didn’t see the humor, as a small army of police officers showed up to put the Morphsuit-wearing marketers in cuffs. But they did get the attention they wanted for the product before being set free.
3. Nivea Makes You Sweat
Unlike the MorphCostume team, most people haven’t been arrested. And even for those who have, the notion of being wanted by authorities is enough to make even the coolest customer freak out.
That’s what Nivea did. The company organized a fake news report and intercom announcement in a German airport to scare unsuspecting fliers. Many of the victims try to laugh it off as a coincidence at first, but naturally become more stressed as they see their own photo on the broadcast. That’s when the cops show up to ask them if they are “stressed” before opening a briefcase and offering them an extra-strength deodorant. Brilliant.
4. LG Makes Armageddon Come True
Korean electronics maker LG wanted to prove that its newest flatscreen television set is as realistic as they come. So, the company replaced a window with a TV screen in an office building and had job candidates come in for an interview to test the prank. A meteor striking the city was displayed on the screens to see how the interviewees would react. The campaign was called “ultra reality,” and based on the freak outs of the interviewees, it seems as though the TVs really can replicate reality.
5. Scared Straight Against Drunk Driving
This prank is absolutely terrifying. This prank was orchestrated by the United Kingdom’s Department for Transport for its “THINK!” campaign to curb drunk driving.
When a regular bar-goer stops in the bathroom and takes the time to wash his hands, he is shocked to see a person crash through the mirror. Although it’s only a dummy and not a real person, the sheer horror of seeing this must have made people think. And that’s the whole point of the campaign.
Read more: Terrifying ‘Rings’ TV Store Prank Goes Viral