Oh, holy s**t, what did you do? W-was it illegal to mock the postman's stupid shorts, like you did yesterday? Do they issue warrants for parking more than 6 inches away from the curb? What the hell is going on?
Then a voice comes over the loudspeaker, reiterating what you already know: Police are looking for somebody who matches your description. On the TV in the bar across from the gate, there's a news report running your picture, describing you as "dangerous and unpredictable." Just as you start contemplating kicking out a window and hijacking a plane, two security guards approach you. This is your Bourne moment. You're innocent, and you know it, but they're still coming for you. Thinking fast, you bash one guard in the face with a trashcan, then use his Taser to take the other one down. As he falls, the suitcase they were carrying cracks open, revealing that it was all a stunt to hawk deodorant.
If NIVEA were smart, they'd have shared the ad with Depends.
It all actually happened in Germany. Well, everything but the superspy-caliber judo takedown (come on, you struggle getting a gallon of milk into the cart; you couldn't even lift one of those airport trashcans). An unsuspecting person would show up at the airport, where ad company folks secretly took his or her picture and printed it on a fake newspaper. An actor sat down and read the newspaper in front of the target. Fake news anchors standing by would whip up a report for the situation, and when it looked like the mark was sufficiently panicked, they'd send in the security guards with the big reveal. NIVEA was trying to make a point about their deodorant, and sweat, and stress, and whatever. It was really only by chance that they didn't accidentally prove that there's a little Harrison Ford in all of us.
We're kind of ashamed that this whole thing didn't end with a scissor-kick.
Sara Ohlms doesn't have a blog and doesn't tweet, but she wants you to have a lovely day anyway. If you want to talk about how awesome the St. Louis Blues are, or need a freelance writer, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Related Reading: Think marketing stunts couldn't get any more irresponsible? Think again. No one today is ballsy enough to stage a TRAIN CRASH just to advertise their business- but that exact scenario went down in 1845. Publicity stunts have a long history of getting out of hand. Just ask the Hollywood sign. Or the patrons of the bar Splinter Cell's developers paid an actor to wave a gun around at.