Does This ‘Child Abduction’ Spoof Mark the End of ‘Prankvertising?’

A couple of months ago we claimed that “prankvertising” had reached its peak with this crazy South American commercial, in which people watching a video of what looks like a missile strike seem to believe that they are actually watching a missile strike.

Then there was the Toys R’ Us stunt which demonstrated that kids would rather hang out in a big toy store than, say, explore and learn about the natural world. Lots of moms didn’t care for that one.

This spot from Canadian agency john st. (no capitals) mocks the whole phenomenon by claiming “we’re literally searing our brand into their minds” with honest-to-goodness fear.

The answer to our headline is obviously “no”, because it’s true that “most people aren’t paying attention to ads anymore”, and it’s hard to make your brand stand out. But even the people who specialize in creating viral content think the trend has gone on long enough:

Maybe it’s time for a new strategy?