Smile! You’re on a commercial!
While that doesn’t have quite the same ring as Candid Camera’s tagline, it’s representative of a modern marketing craze brands have adopted: the “prankvertisement.”
Unsuspecting and ordinary people are put into unusual, yet rehearsed situations while surrounded by hidden cameras. Their genuine reactions are filmed and shared all over the Internet for the purpose of sending a brand’s message.
Brands like Volvo, LG, Ubisoft and even movie studios have joined in on the video pranks. Most recently, Pepsi Max launched a Halloween ad showcasing some impressive tech to scare the pants off of some London moviegoers.There’s several reasons people are drawn to TV shows like Candid Camera, America’s Funniest Home Videos and now prankvertisements. One reason in particular is the honest innocence of a candid video’s subject, i.e. a dad smacked in the head with a wiffle ball bat by his young, blindfolded son attempting to hit a piñata.
The raw, and often times, hilarious emotions these pranks yield from people are contagious, and brands have figured out that sharing these videos and taking advantage of that emotion can create some serious buzz. The Pepsi Max Monster Mirror ad was released on Oct. 29, and it has already racked up over 1.6 million views.
The most common prankvertisement involves scaring unsuspecting targets. However, positivity can go a long way. TD Canada Trust released a video in July 2014 to thank their customers with specialized gifts. The heartwarming video has just under 18 million views.
Regardless of the tone, people are loving prankvertisements and brands know it. Until the joke is taken too far, it’s safe to say this latest ad fad isn’t going anywhere.