To most people advertising is a simple way to preview products, movies, and services. What if advertising took a step further and forced your participation whether you like it or not? Such an advertising ploy is a new way of advertising, called prankvertising and to some, such lengths might be going too far.
Prankvertising is a clever way to advertise and does create a buzz, which is what advertisers want. Shock marketing has always used the standard sex and scantily clad women, which has become banal and just overdone. Consumers have already seen the egregious lubrication commercials, which, by now, have numbed the sex out of our senses. Consumers want more – they just want more.
Well, it’s here – a new way of introducing products, movies, and services. Actually, prankvertising has been in full effect – just not yet in your neighborhood – you just have to be at the right place at the right time. Just picture having a cup a coffee in a coffee shop before going to work, when suddenly a dramatic turn of events happen a few tables down. Is it real or is it fake? A question not yet asked by those who have not yet participated in a prankvertisement.
LG has used clever marketing tactics to advertise their electronic products. LG has also tried their advertising hand at prankvertising as they used an 80-inch flat screen as a faux window in an office behind an executive, who was conducting interviews to unsuspecting interviewees. What unfolded were dramatic responses to what was happening on the faux window behind the executive. Did this prankvertisement go too far? Whether it did or not, it was successful in creating a buzz invoking real emotions to a simulation of a huge, fiery meteor crashing into the buildings seen supposedly through the window behind the executive:
Another marketing ploy that definitely created a buzz was the introduction of the new horror remake of Carrie. This prankvertisement has definitely put the prank in prankvertisement as it was set in a very crowded coffee shop filled with many unsuspecting customers. A girl, her laptop, and telekinesis – enough said:
As prankvertising is the new clever, many issues of liability loom, especially in a sue-happy nation. For instance, a $10 million lawsuit launched against Saatchi & Saatchi and Toyota, heavily premised in guerrilla marketing tactics, but in the same vein as prankvertising, involved “upsetting emails” from an unsavory British soccer player who was supposedly stalking a woman by the name of Amber Duick. Duick claimed to have suffered from the results of the prankvertising, launched solely to create a buzz, which unfortunately backfired into a lawsuit.
It is understandable that advertising is successful only if it creates a positive buzz; however, lately, it seems the buzz is going either way. It also seems that, since there are potential liabilities in such marketing ploys, there should be certain guidelines, especially when involving unsuspecting random people. Though prankvertising can seem to go too far, whether negative or positive, it certainly gains buzz-worthy attention.
Written by: Dianna Coudriet