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“Evil baby” prankvertising goes viral January 26, 2014

Posted by rmshepard in Uncategorized.
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Prankvertising is a new trend in the ad world, often scaring the bejesus out of unknowing citizens going about their days all for the sake of entertainment. The latest viral example of the genre is a promotion for horror film Devil’s Due featuring a remote controlled baby carriage holding an ugly devil baby. The prank had the carriage sitting in public, baiting people passing by to take a peek just as a baby popped up with a frightful scream. For those unwilling to peek, the baby would pop up, projectile vomit, and get closer as the carriage was moved from a distance.

Sounds funny, eh? Not to everyone. Some critics fear that the high profile stunts are raising the stakes on what kind of prank will get passed around online. In the meantime, unwilling participants are dragged into some of the scariest moments of their lives. As David Gianatasio of Ad Week ripped, “Using nonprofessionals involves real risk, because reactions can, of course, be unpredictable. What if someone draws a weapon and charges into an elevator? What if someone suffers a heart attack?”

For more on this story, see the following video:

Discussion Questions:

1.  What is advertising clutter? How is prankvertising a response to that problem for the ad world?

2.  How do prankvertising ads exhibit the characteristics of viral videos?

3.  What is the risk of prankvertising? What, for example, could have gone wrong in the “evil baby” prank above?