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Prankvertising was one of the most popular trends of 2013. Many brands and films chose to play pranks on unsuspecting members of the public in an effort to promote and gain exposure.

In October 2013, Key West Video had posted about the Carrie campaign. Using telekinesis, the creepy talent Carrie is known for, this particular prankvertising shocked and disturbed not only the viewer, but the patrons of an unsuspecting NYC coffee shop. The Carrie video has garnered over 53 million views, making it the most successful prank campaign of 2013.

Carrie Prankvertising Video
Carrie Prankvertising Video

It’s clear that prankvertising is a useful tool for horror film promotion as it creates a conversation about the film and adds an element of reality to the supernatural seen in the actual movies. This particular marketing tool has since been used to promote several other horror films, including the most recent “Devil Baby Prank” for the film Devil’s Due. The prankvertising campaign, in which an animatronic “devil baby” in a remote controlled stroller goes on a rampage through the streets of New York City, has been rather successful, garnering over 30 million views in 3 days.

Although prankvertising is most useful for horror film publicity, it has also been used for product promotion – although not as successfully, in terms of online views. Take a look at this “Meteor: Ultra Reality” prank by LG to showcase the crispness and clarity of their televisions.

In essence, prankvertising achieves a significant marketing goal: it gets people talking. Creating a conversation around your product or service is key, and these viral pranks are a great way to do so. However, the question arises… is this form of advertising sustainable? At first, this was a new and innovative marketing tool – creating elaborate pranks that go viral and promote your brand; lately, it seems that many brands have utilized prankvertising and it is slowly becoming commonplace. Unlike many other marketing tools, prankvertising is more susceptible to overkill, as too many pranks can cause audiences to foresee the prank, thereby ruining its primary element of surprise.

What do you think of prank advertising? Is it a good marketing tool? Has it been overused already? Tell Key West Video Inc. your thoughts.

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