An attempted murder was staged in an elevator with cameras rolling, all in order to generate buzz for an upcoming movie “Dead Man Down” starring Colin Farrell and Noomi Rapace. The stunt premise was for ordinary people to happen upon two men struggling on the floor of the elevator, one attempting to strangulate the other, as the elevator doors open. The hidden camera recording of their reactions was then posted online with the hope it would go viral, and it has according to Metro World News today.
The YouTube clip was the brainchild of viral video marketing agency Thinkmodo. So far, it has more than 2 million views. Click the video at the top to watch the clip and see the reactions.
The director of the elevator video, Thinkmodo co-founder Michael Krivicka, said, “At no point was anyone in danger, even though it looks like it at some points”. He told Metro he hoped it would spark debate.
Adweek noted two of the wildest reactions to the crime-in-progress. One woman freaked out and began beating the attacker over the head with a bouquet of flowers, certainly not a deadly force stopper. The other was a man who grabbed the nearest fire extinguisher and tried to spray the attacker into submission.
Krivicka believes that movie promotion is moving off the small screen and into cyberspace. “Social media is the new platform to reach movie goers”, he says. “A TV spot can only be watched. That’s it. A YouTube video, however, can be shared, emailed, commented on, liked, etc. There is great power in that”.
The director claims all of the caught-on-video reactions to the staged scene were real except for the last, in which a man walking dogs does nothing but film the fake in-progress murder with his cell phone.
He was an actor, and his improvised reaction was also staged in order to mimic a key scene in the film. In “Dead Man Down”, one main character also witnesses another main character strangle someone to death, and records it for blackmail.
“There is a big difference between advertising and viral marketing,” Krivicka says. “A viral marketing video is designed to start conversations around the movie”.
Despite the Krivicka’s claim that the video depicts authentic reactions, it's pretty hard to believe that the production company lawyers didn’t have a stroke over it, unless it was staged.
As one random astute YouTube commenter put it, “I hope you guys did this experiment in a state that doesn't allow concealed carry, I would have shot that mother f--ker”.
The viral video has sparked debate as intended, with national news shows picking up on it and debating whether it goes too far. Then again, saying you were just trying to start a discussion is a clever way of covering your tracks when you do cross a line.
What’s your opinion? Clever marketing tool, or are the creators tools?