Ad of the Day: Watch TiVo Crash a Movie Theater and Interrupt a Film With Commercials

Needless to say, the moviegoers weren't pleased

Where's an ad blocker when you really need one?

That's what 100 influencers invited to a private screening of Spectre, at the Cinebarre Theater in Louisville, Colorado, were thinking last month. Their enjoyment of the latest James Bond epic was interrupted not once, not twice, but 003 times as the action built to an explosive climax.

It was all a hidden-camera prank engineered by Project: WorldWide agency School to promote TiVo's 500GB Bolt DVR system. Consumers won't stand for interruptions at the movies, the client maintains, so they shouldn't put up with them at home, either.

"Getting interrupted right at the climax is brutal," Joe Corr, chief creative officer at School, tells Adweek. "But you might think it's just a technical problem. So we came back two minutes later and then 10 minutes later with the same three ads, and they went ballistic."

A fiendish plot worthy of Blofeld himself. Predictably, tensions ran high. Luckily, the moviegoers weren't licensed to kill.

"The first interruption captured a lot of confusion," Corr says. "People weren't sure what was going on and were annoyed. But when we went back in with interruptions two and three, people started to lose it. It was chaos. Wine bottles and popcorn containers were in the air."

Once folks began popping out of their seats, School brought up the house lights and let the audience in on the gag.

"We wanted to make sure we diffused that moment of anger and frustration," Corr says. "While everyone was inside the theater, we staged the lobby area with demo stations, photo booths, an open bar with themed drinks, and a station where every attendee got a new TiVo Bolt tied up in a silk bow."

Naturally, a sequel is in the works. "We're talking about more pranks we can do that would show how interruptions ruin different experiences," Corr says.

Just don't pull this stunt during Star Wars: The Force Awakens, or we'll seen the dark side of human nature exploding in the aisles.


Client: TiVo

Agency: School

Chief Creative Officer: Joe Corr

Executive Creative Director: Ryan Craig

Creative Director: Andrew Goldin

Art Director: Kiley Del Valle

Copywriter: Ryan Craig, Max Lenderman, Andrew Goldin

Executive Producer: Angela Barnard

Agency Producer: Gigi Douglas

Account Executive: Sherena Elharmell

Designer: Hailey Badovinac

Production Company: Buck Ross

Director: Ryan Ross

Director of Photography: Jeffrey Garland

Producer: Alex VanNortwick

Assistant Director: Tom Farnsworth

Editor: Lam T. Nguyen

Post Producer: Ryan Ross

Color: Buck Ross

Colorist:  Lam T. Nguyen

Sound Design: Coupe Studios

Producer: Eric Singer

Audio Mix: Alex Hawley

@DaveGian David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.