A prank played on a group of coffee shop drinkers to promote the remake of 70s horror classic Carrie tops last month’s Unruly Global Ads Chart. The ad was October’s most popular by a country mile, attracting almost 1.7 million more shares across Facebook, Twitter and the blogosphere than the second-placed ad, PooPourri’s hilarious “Girls Don’t Poop”.
Created by the dastardly minds at agency Thinkmodo, it’s the latest in a long line of “prankverts” – a very big trend in 2013, in which brands play jokes on supposedly unsuspecting members of the public and film their reactions. But what’s it about and why is it so popular? Well, we all know getting your morning coffee fix can be a real ordeal. You're half-asleep, there is a huge line of people before you and you are late for work. However, to promote the remake of Stephen King’s classic story about a teenage girl with telekinetic powers – Thinkmodo moved it up a notch, giving caffeine lovers a wake-up call more powerful than knocking back 20 espressos.
It begins with an argument between two patrons after a man accidentally knocks some coffee over a teenage girl's laptop. So far, so normal. But what happens next is anything but. The girl turns to the man and raises her hand, sending the man against the wall and up off the ground. She then screams and books fly off the wall and tables around her slide across the ground. It's not exactly your normal coffee shop experience, but, of course, thankfully for the people who recoil in horror at the strange girl, it's a complete fake. The shop has been rigged up, the warring girl and guy are actors and it's all been filmed to get the hilarious responses of the general public. It does the trick. Some run away, others scream and shout, while one brave soul even stands his ground. The result is an ad that also had a supernatural hold on the Unruly Viral Video Chart last month. It attracted more than 2.1 million shares during October, making it not only the most shared ad of the month, but the eight most shared ad of the year (so far!). Another new video to make it onto the top 20 offers a very different kind of Halloween horror.
You can throw as many special effects or clever catchphrases into your marketing mix as possible, but apparently nothing beats the sight of a little girl throwing up. Or at least that's one way to look at the incredible success of Crest and Oral-B’s “Halloween Treats Gone Wrong ad”. To explore the possibility of a sugar-free All Hallows Eve, the dental hygiene brand decided to test some very special healthy treats on a group of outspoken kids. All dressed up for Halloween, they are given sugar-free 'treats' such as vegetable-flavoured gummies and tofu ghost-mallows. The results are pretty terrifying, with most either spitting it out or claiming they "taste like poo poo". However, the standout moment is the little girl who throws up and the rather deadpan reaction she gets from the test administrator. Of course, it's a result a dental hygiene brand will be more than happy with. After all, more sugary treats means a greater need to brush and floss afterwards. But what they will be even more happy with is the performance of the ad. Launched just a few days before the end of the month, the commercial attracted more than 225,000 shares during October, making it the seventh most shared ad of the month.
Meanwhile, with the Xbox One and the PS4 set to go head to head in the battle for Christmas sales, it’s no surprise to see ads promoting Microsoft’s and Sony’s videogame consoles in the top 20. Leading the way in 13th with 129,451 shares during October is Sony’s “Perfect Day” commercial.
For millions of gamers, blowing your mates away on Grand Theft Auto 5, or ramming a friend off the road playing Grand Turismo, is the perfect bonding experience. And it's that kind of camaraderie that is captured brilliantly in the spot“Perfect Day”. A follow-up to the fantastic "Greatness Awaits", the ad, created by BBH New York, shows two young men acting out battle scenes from popular videogame titles Elder Scrolls Online, Driveclub and Killzone, all set to the tune of Lou Reed's 1972 classic hit.
Three places behind in 16th is a very different kind of ad for the PS4. “For The Players Since 1995” is a sedate and nostalgic journey through the history of the Playstation told through the bedroom of a teenage boy. It attracted 104,431 shares last month, almost 30,000 more than Xbox’s 19th-placed “Invitation”, which was launched a few days later.
Like “Perfect Day”, “Invitation” uses smart editing, incredible special effects and exclusive content to exhilarate its viewers. However, it has one key difference. While Sony focuses more on gamers, the Xbox is promoted as something with broader appeal, more of a home entertainment device where you can watch movies or sports, as well as play games.
Whether this family-friendly strategy pays off we’ll have to see as the pair slug it out in the lead-up to Christmas.
Other newcomers to the top 20 include Virgin Atlantic’s new all-singing and all-dancing safety demonstration, the latest chapter in Pepsi’s hugely popular “Uncle Drew” campaign, a Honda ad that will make you rub your eyes and a video to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Superman.
Top 20 Most Shared, Branded Video Ads During October 2013
1. MGM: Telekinetic Coffee Shop Surprise - Shares: 2.1million
2. PooPourri: Girls Don’t Poop - Shares: 418,023
3. GoPro: HERO3+ Black Edition: Smaller, Lighter, Mightier Still - Shares: 320,611
4. GEICO: Hump Day - Shares: 258,145
5. GoPro: Firemen Saves Kitten - Shares: 241,781
6. Samsung: Note 3 – First Hands On - Shares: 237,310
7. Crest and Oral-B: Halloween Treats Gone Wrong - Shares: 225,156
8. Virgin America: #VXsafetydance - Shares: 205,327
9. Mercedes-Benz: Chicken - Shares: 187,677
10. Pepsi Max: Uncle Drew 3 - Shares: 178,099
11. DC Entertainment: 75th Superman Anniversary - Shares: 164,278
12. Melbourne Metro: Dumb Ways To Die - Shares: 129,566
13. Sony Playstation: Perfect Day - Shares: 129,451
14. Honda: Illusions - Shares: 107,560
15. Archer: Danger Zone - Shares: 105,384
16. Sony Playstation: For The Players Since 1995 - Shares: 104,431
17. LG: Steady Feathers - Shares: 82,734
18. Phonebloks: Phonebloks - Shares: 78,988
19. Xbox: Invitation - Shares: 74,749
20. Evian: Baby & Me - Shares: 71,181
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