Usually, but not always, this form of advertising is designed to create tension with unwitting subjects caught on video in order to drive home a point or to promote a brand and its offerings. As longtime GEN WOW readers know, this dynamic works especially well for promoting horror movies.
A trend that picked up speed in 2017: More positive, "purpose-driven" pranks, which is a development we wholeheartedly endorse. Not that we don't also still enjoy less altruistic efforts, too.
Here are a few of our faves from the year that was:
This promo for the upcoming season of 'The X-Files" had three separate elements: The hand, the alien and the agents.
Frosted Flakes teamed up with Prank It Forward to pull this very positive prank on a young boy who once drew an anti-bullying comic book featuring a hero called Super Fight Guy. Makes you realize there are plenty of good people to prank in the year ahead.
This is one Whopper (Jr.) of an adverprank. It captures footage from a BK restaurant to compare how many real-life customers will speak up when there's something wrong with their Whopper Jr. vs. how many will speak up to stop bullying happening right in front of them. It's not a pretty picture. But thankfully, two Good Samaritans show up to redeem our faith in humanity. A must watch, and a clever way to promote this BK sandwich.
Even nearly a year later, we're loving this adverprank promoting 'The Ring' sequel. Fans of the franchise are very familiar with its "First you watch it, then you die" conceit—though this would freak out anyone, even without the backstory. Sure, it's no "Devil's Due" or 'Telekinetic Coffee Shop," but it gets the neck hair bristling just fine.
Heineken pulled off what Pepsi seemed to have been attempting with its ill-fated Kendall Jenner spot, but couldn't. And it did it by not trivializing issues, but put them front and center—bringing people who are worlds apart at least a little bit closer. Oh, and by being true to the role Heineken actually plays in the world—as an ice breaker. Good stuff.
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