What if the fly that captivated the internet by landing on Mike Pence’s head during the vice presidential debate last week was revealed to be a mechanical plant engineered by an ad agency as a viral stunt?
That’s the premise of a new gag video from marketing stunt agency WhoIsTheBaldGuy. The video delivers a pitch-perfect parody of a behind-the-scenes/case-study-style clip filmed as if the fly debacle were actually one of the agency’s signature pranks.
In the video, the agency also claims credit for other high-profile instances of flies touching down on major politicians. For example, the agency explains how a fly briefly perched on Hillary Clinton’s eyebrow in a 2016 debate. The agency also suggests it directed the insect that Barack Obama famously swatted during a 2009 television interview.
The video also comes with some pointed commentary about the superficial nature of such viral phenomena from WhoIsTheBaldGuy founder and creative director Michael Krivicka.
“The objective is usually to distract—distract the viewer from what the candidate is saying and, more importantly distract the media from reporting on what the candidate is saying,” Krivicka says in the video.
Krivicka said he shot the video for fun in a weekend using talking head segments of himself recorded in his home office, combined with clips from other behind-the-scenes videos the agency has filmed. While he’s pleased with the attention the video has garnered on Twitter, he’s also disconcerted by viewers who apparently believe the content of the video to be true.
“The pandemic is—for now–pausing my signature public stunts, but that doesn’t mean I can’t come up with, and execute, viral video content on a shoestring budget,” Krivicka told Adweek. “It’s meant as a satire, but the MAGA and Q crowds are eating it up, sharing it as new ‘evidence.’ Crazy times we live in.”
Krivicka, who previously co-founded Thinkmodo, is famous for conducting elaborate viral stunts. His past antics include tricking New Yorkers into believing they had blown up a police car with a giant gun and dropping a real-life Spider-Man into a Starbucks to pick up some coffee. He most recently signed a deal with the producers of Cash Cab to create a new prank-centric TV series.