To compete with the recent wave of extreme pranks from marketers, Toronto agency john st. has launched their own exFEARiential marketing division. Muggings, carjackings, riots – there’s nothing they won’t do to get their client’s brands noticed.
I love how there is no disclaimer at the end of this video, and two “client” videos for further viewing. It makes you wonder if john st. is serious. Although the question here is not, “Is john st. serious?” The question is are the agencies and brands pulling very real stunts on unsuspecting people, serious?
I’ve told several friends how much I hate these fear-producing stunts, and some of my buddies just tell me to shut up and get over it. Maybe I am wrong. Maybe I’ve become the old guy on his porch shakin’ his fist and yellin’ “Now you kids git offa my lawn!”
The ad industry is already thought by many to be a manipulative shell game played by semi-skilled hucksters. Why in the world would we–the ad people of the world–add to this negative public perception with even more manipulative crap?
Are the perpetrators here really that careless, arrogant, and operating with a total lack of respect for the consumer and knowledge about what works?
Clients want to sell their products or services, and they want their communications to create long term brand value while simultaneously driving purchase consideration. It’s fair to ask if live stunts that capture the imagination in a disruptive way do either.