Prankvertising shifts into high gear for this elaborate X-Files-esque stunt from Crispin Porter + Bogusky promoting Scania's 2014 competition for professional truck and bus drivers.
Daniel Olsson, who has five years of experience behind the wheel, must come through in the clutch after he picks up a mysterious shipment and passenger at a warehouse. Horrifying sounds and visuals suggest that a hostile creature has been loaded aboard his truck as he navigates around crates in the cramped space.
"He did not expect anything strange would happen, and the whole setup was pretty normal," Gustav Martner, ecd at CP+B in Gothenburg, Sweden, tells AdFreak. "Then, he obviously thought it was a bit unusual that his passenger was an old, well-dressed English gentleman who insisted on riding with him down to the harbor to see that the crate was safely delivered."
In fact, Olsson looks fairly freaked out, but he still keeps his cool, as the weirdness intensifies, with his jittery cab-mate "Dr. Sullivan" (a professional actor) gesturing back toward the noisy payload and ominously muttering, "I think actually you've woken him up."
"I became increasingly nervous and stressed, but I had no thoughts of quitting," Olsson says.
The three-minute "Cargo Madness" clip serves as an entertaining invite to the competition, where drivers must "handle more than their trucks" as they test their skills to overcome various obstacles.
"The production was much more complicated than we thought," recalls Martner. Instead of switching Olsson's ordinary side-view mirror with LCD-implanted units as planned, "We had to project the monster onto the ordinary mirror from behind. It was extremely stressful to create this solution in a matter of hours, but we managed to pull it off."
Folks love debating if such stunts are genuine or if the participants were in on the gag. "We did the stunt with three different drivers, all of them being totally unaware," Martner says. "Daniel was the best."
Given prankvertising's continued popularity, Martner doesn't expect agencies or clients to slam on the brakes any time soon. "It seems like people love this kind of advertising, and what people love, they share," he says. "I choose prankvertising over a standard commercial any day … at least if everyone involved can laugh about it in the end."