Thinkmodo On The Making Of Their Latest Viral Campaign, #SurfingNYC

By Megan O'Neill 

What do you get when you drop a couple of surfers in wetsuits in the middle of NYC with a couple of motorized surfboards?  You get the latest viral campaign from viral video marketing agency Thinkmodo.

Thinkmodo is the brains behind successful campaigns and hoaxes including the Times Square hack for Limitless, the guy cutting off a parking meter to promote In Time, an underwater nightclub, naked gaming parties, the flying people campaign for Chronicle and more.  We had the opportunity to speak with Thinkmodo co-founder Michael Krivicka to find out more about their latest campaign #SurfingNYC, which launched earlier this week to promote 20th Century Fox’s new surfing movie Chasing Mavericks.

Before we get to my interview with Krivicka, check out the campaign below.  The video has racked up over 77,000 views so far and has been covered by a variety of outlets from Mashable to GuySpeed, Surfer Today and Yahoo! Sports.

I asked Krivicka how they came up with the idea for the #SurfingNYC campaign.  He told me, “The ideation process is always the same: We first look at the movie we are asked to promote and then try to identify an element or theme that we can blow up and make our own.  In the case of Chasing Mavericks we saw a teenage boy and his friend attempting to surf the impossible: the famous Mavericks wave.  We tried to create our own interpretation of it by having two surfers try to surf the impossible: New York City.

“We didn’t want to do a fast-paced, action packed video filled with acrobatic tricks and jumps because that has been done many times before ant it didn’t go along with the feel of the movie.  We decided to do something more atmospheric and graceful to translate the surfing experience onto the streets of a big city.”

I was curious about how they dealt with NYC’s notorious traffic during the shoot.  Krivicka told me, “We shot the video over the course of 3 days, mostly early in the mornings when the streets were empty and the traffic was slow.  We used experienced surfers/skaters for the shoot and played things super safe.  In some cases we blocked off a street or two but for the most part we just timed things right.”  But traffic wasn’t the biggest problem, Krivicka says.  “The biggest challenge was to keep the boards hidden for as long as possible between takes because the moment we took them out of the van, crowds of people started to gather around us taking photos and videos on their mobile devices.”

Finally, thinking of putting one of these motorized surfboards on your holiday wish list this year?  You may be in for a bit of a disappointment.  “These boards are 2-of-a-kind.  They surfboards were created by the shop that made the boards for the movie.  We had them shipped from California to NYC where we then modified them with electric motors and controllers.  They reach up to 25mph and are super fun to ride…but they will probably end up on the Thinkmodo Hall of Fame, next to many of our custom props.”

What do you think about #SurfingNYC?  We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times.  Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.