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Friday Free-For-All: Advertising via Prank

Considering that this video has over 4 million views, there’s a decent chance that you’ve seen it. But, I’m going to share it anyway:

I really like this video. While it’s certainly not the first of its kind (as the video states, Pepsi has done it before), it definitely kicks the adrenaline up a notch. The Carrie prank video back in autumn really worked, as no one had put together a supernatural prank to that magnitude (that I’m aware of) before. The demon baby prank was pretty cool, but not as cool as the Carrie video (in my opinion).

This Jeff Gordon prank, however, wins in a lot of aspects. It takes the first version of the prank a step further (adding a police chase element and targeting a specific individual with a vested interest in the concept. It also has a more universal appeal, to some extent, as it lacks the gross out factor that the demon baby video had.

Also, it goes to show how useful YouTube can be for inventive ad strategies. The video is 8 times too long for a TV spot and contains far too many bleeped words. On YouTube, they have more freedom with length (still good to keep it short to encourage users to click it) and they can include as many bleeped f-bombs as they want, since most web videos freely swear without any regard to virgin ears anyway.

So, I’m interested to see the sorts of prank ads that come out in the future. I’m also interested to see how brands deviate from pranks to make entertaining advertisements. As you probably understand – no one likes ads. They have a stigma because for most of advertising history, they’ve served as a distraction from the main event (the Super Bowl being the main exception). Now, marketers are getting the idea – make the ad cool, fun, scary, hilarious, etc… and people will watch the ad willingly. I will grant that many TV ads incorporate humor, but after repetition on TV, they get old and a once funny commercial becomes a viewer’s worst enemy. On YouTube, you can watch it once, share it with friends, get a good laugh for up to a week or two… then leave it be.

All of that being said – here are some other videos since it’s friday:

From our friends in Washington

From our friends at BuzzFeed

Have a nice weekend everyone!

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