New Yorkers have a well established reputation for being nonplussed, and jaded. We've seen most everything, and very little really causes us alarm, or really captures our attention. But, the producers of the upcoming movie, "Devil's Due" managed to grab the attention of many unsuspecting New York pedestrians " then they put the whole episode on YouTube for the inevitable viral treatment.
Here's the setup "An innocent looking baby carriage sits on the sidewalk. Suddenly, it's moving toward you then -- horror of horrors! -- the "baby" sits up, and starts making noises last heard on the "Exorcist" soundtrack. Predictably, people freaked out in various ways.
Some shouted, some cursed, some prayed for protection, and salvation. But ALL of them reacted with instant emotion, and total focus. Especially, when the afflicted child began spitting horrible liquid at the onlookers. Of course, the video went viral, and the thousands upon thousands of views it received, watched all the way to the end, completely innocent of the fact that they were about to be advertised at. At the very end of the video, the viewer is treated to a screenshot promo of the new "Devil's Due" movie. That's it.
The producer who created this commercial hit a lot of right PR notes in the planning, and execution of the promotion.
First, the promoters gave the audience something interesting. They invested in the ultimate payoff. Because of this, the audience doesn't feel robbed by the commercial at the end. They keep watching with a smile on their faces. This smile through the "fade to black" is vital in the connection of an audience to message. People realize it's a commercial, but they don't care they've been sold to, because they enjoyed the video so much. That sort of forethought, and honest effort is a strategy I expect more entertainment brands to pursue.
The success of that strategy means that more commercial brands will likely follow suit. Expect the floodgates to open, and a torrent of guerilla video media to hit social media in the coming months.
Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR -- And while he has been responsible for many PR stunts, crying babies isn't one of them.