Lately it seems like every day is April 1 in advertising, based on how many campaigns are pranking ordinary people.
Cue Carlsberg's latest stunt, which rouses unsuspecting people from their beds (or wherever) between 1 and 5 a.m. with panicked calls from their friends, who claim they just lost $400 playing poker and must come up with the cash immediately—or else. "Come down now or I'm gone," one says ominously. When the friends arrive with the money at what appears to be a seedy building in Chinatown, they must pass by bouncers, bare-chested brawlers and other unsavory sights to reach the game on the third floor, where curtains part, game-show style, once the gag is revealed. Ultimately, Carlsbergs are raised in praise of "standing up for a friend."
Belgium's Duval Guillaume Modem dealt this particular hand. The same agency created Carlsberg's burly-bikers-in-a-movie-theater viral and TNT's uber-popular and over-the-top "Push to add drama" stunts. The poker prank, while elaborate and invasive, actually seems a tad tame by the genre's current standards. It's nowhere near as shocking as last week's faux elevator strangling for the movie thriller Dead Man Down, or as intricately upsetting as Nivea's airport ambush in February, which strove to convince people that they were wanted by the law.
Still, the public's appetite for such fare seems far from sated, as the poker play has passed a quarter-million YouTube views in two days. My favorite bit takes place in an elevator, where an old guy offers the prank victims some sketchy-looking meat on a skewer. (UPDATE: The brewer informs us those are actually grasshoppers!) In this genre, weird stuff always happens in elevators.
If you're trapped in prankvertising, take the stairs.
Agency: Duval Guillaume Modem, Antwerp, Belgium
Creative Directors: Geoffrey Hantson, Katrien Bottez
Art Director: Koenraad Lefever
Copywriter: Dries De Wilde
Account Director: Elke Janssens
Account Manager: Bart Verschueren
Agency Producer: Marc Van Buggenhout
Digital Strategic Director: Kris Hoet
Conversation Manager: Maarten Van Herck
Production Company: Monodot
Director: Cecilia Verheyden
Executive Producer: Tatiana Pierre
Producers: Bo De Group, Charlotte Cotman
Director of Photography : Pieter van Alphen
Postproduction Manager: Frauke Dierickx
Editor: Joris Vanden Berk
Sound Studio: Sonicville
Postproduction Company: Grid Brussels