To promote an app that scans for weak Wi-Fi coverage, Danish ISP Stofa pranked six boys by slowing down or cutting their connections during critical moments of online gameplay.
Predictably, these gamers didn’t shrug off the technical glitches and patiently wait for their signal to return.
In fact, they straight up freaked.
“This sucks, this sucks, this sucks!” one bedeviled boy cries out in the clip below. “No, I’m lagging! Fuck, I’m lagging!” shrieks another.
Some even trash their keyboards, sending little plastic letters flying across the floor amid inarticulate moans of despair and disbelief.
Last fall, Stofa and Copenhagen shop Robert/Boisen & Like-Minded touted online security software by teaching Danish grannies the art of cyber invasion (much to their grandkids’ chagrin).
This time around, Stofa technicians hacked into various routers, giving them control of the gamers’ internet. Then, the techs observed the teens’ gaming sessions via hidden camera, cutting the Wi-Fi connections at the exact moments players were about to tally big scores or claim victory.
The resulting campaign provides a fun introduction to Stofa’s “Wifi Scanner,” explaining how common household items, such as brick walls and aquariums, can foul up reception.
If the concept feels familiar, that’s because Jimmy Kimmel created a viral sensation in a similar vein last December, when he challenged parents to turn off TV screens while their kids were playing the massively popular online game Fortnite. If you thought the Danish kids responded poorly to bad signal, just revisit the Kimmel clip to remind yourself how many American kids completely went ballistic:
With both the Kimmel video and the Stofa ad, some viewers may find the very notion of secretly surveilling youngsters at play for commercial purposes to be a bit creepy and invasive. Still, Robert/Boisen took pains to structure the situation as safely and sanely as possible.
“First of all, it wasn’t young kids, it was teens aged 13 and 14,” agency co-lead creative Niklas Hultquist tells Adweek. “We would never have done it if it was kids aged 6 or 7.”
“It was all pre-approved by their parents,” he says. “All the parents were in a room next door throughout the prank. The kids knew this, so they knew their parents could come in the door at any time, which meant they were not completely private in the situation.”
Later, “When we revealed the prank to the young gamers, we gave them the choice of whether they wished to be in the film,” he says. “Luckily, all of the boys thought it was great fun and agreed on being part of the project.”
Adds co-lead creative Frederik Voetmann, “We were well aware that we were dealing with some pretty intense emotions when messing with young gamers’ virtual life-or-death moments. So, the keyboard smashing and NSFW language was to a certain degree expected. What we didn’t count on, though, was the amount of support the group of gamers showed each other when they failed their team because of a sudden connection error.”
The creatives also didn’t count on the boys getting suspicious when the internet kept failing almost every time they were poised for a gaming victory.
“The recurring outage seemed a bit too perfectly timed to a couple of the kids,” Voetmann says. “They discussed whether to rush into their parents’ bedroom to check if their dad was playing a prank on them. Luckily, the crew was able to pick up on their scheming via the hidden mics and managed to send in the father with a cover story of how the internet connection was down in the entire neighborhood. Crisis averted, and the shenanigans could continue.”
Agency: Robert/Boisen & Like-Minded
Strategist: Søren Christensen
Creative Director: Heinrich Vejlgaard
Lead Creatives: Niklas Hultquist & Frederik Voetmann
Account Manager: Gitte Andersen
Social Media Strategist: Victor Petri
Production Company: Gobsmack Productions
Executive Producer: Christina Bostofte Erritzøe
Producer: Nya Bille
Director: Klaus Spendser
Editor/Grader: Thorbjørn Münter
Sound Design: Bjørn Vidø/Freezone
Supporting Creatives: Magnus Mynderup-Bjørnshave & Thomas Jørgensen Parastatidis
Media Agency: Carat
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