There’s been a global fascination with prank advertising, or “prankvertising,” in the ad industry lately, suggesting some marketers think the best way to get consumer’s money is by absolutely terrifying them.
Highlights have included a “Carrie” film promotion in which a girl scared New York coffee-shop customers with her supposed telekinetic powers, and LG convincing Chilean job applicants that a huge explosion had occurred outside the office window.
Now, the Brazilian variety show Programa Silvio Santos, with the approval of Universal Studios, might have staged the most terrifying prank yet. To publicize the new “Chucky” horror movie, the show rigged a promotional display box to hide a knife-wielding man dressed up as the movie’s creepy title character.
Chucky breaks out of the display box at about the 1:08 mark of the video, and the terrified reactions of people waiting at an adjacent bus stop tell you everything you need to know:
The translated name of the movie is “The Curse of Chucky,” a direct-to-video sequel in the Child’s Play franchise that came out in October.
Silvio Santos (the guy cackling throughout the video) is well-known and admired in Brazil for his pranks, like one in which “dolls” come to life in a retail store.
He seems to have taken the idea for the Chucky prank from a Colombian television program. Santos decided to one-up the nearly identical prank by adding sound effects, a prop knife, and an authentic Chucky promotion rather than the Colombian show’s mock poster.
Therefore, Santos’ hidden camera segment doubles as a full-blown advertisement. Viewers repeatedly see a full shot of the poster before the demonic doll breaks through the glass.
And though some people ran into a busy street to avoid the knife-wielding prankster and a woman even fell pretty hard onto the sidewalk — accompanied by a gag “boing!” — the audience seemed to enjoy it. Still, you can’t help but wonder how much further prankvertising can go before it’s gone too far.
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