Look at more advertising campaigns today, this time with the focus shifted to “prankvertising”. This is what happens when a company decides to prank potential customers, or random people in order to draw the people in who are watching the prank from their TV. Sometimes it goes a bit far, though, and you have to draw the line somewhere, especially since horror-themed pranks are becoming more popular.

The following are 3 campaigns that are all pretty different just to show the broad scale of prankvertising. There are pros and cons to prank campaigns like these, and to properly explore those we’ll have to look at multiple ideas.

The first stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, who decided to prank the public back in 2015 to promote his upcoming film “Terminator; Genesys”, as well as for benefits towards the After School All-Stars program. He posed as the Terminator in a wax museum, and when anyone came up and posed next to him for a picture, he’d suddenly speak and give them a bit of a jump scare. Pretty cool idea, I think. This is one of the happier campaigns out there – there aren’t really any cons to one like this since it’s fun and light-hearted and not performed at anyone’s expense. This one shows some pros to prank advertising-

  • making people happy
  • the campaign brought heaps of attention to a program helping thousands of American kids

It can be viewed here; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w81g199L8YA


Here’s another, which leans more to the opposite side of the spectrum. This one was put together to promote the release of “The Last Exorcism 2”, and features a hair salon with a creepy mirror installed. A girl sits behind one of the salon mirrors with special backlighting effects, that flicker at whoever is in the chair at the time. It is passed off as just a trick of the light, or a reflection from the salon’s TV, where a horror film is being played. The girl behind the mirror is an actress chosen for her aerobic abilities, so she can bend and twist herself is unnatural directions like the character in the film.

These pranks can be problematic, since they can have adverse psychological effects on the people involved. There’s always a line to be careful not to cross when attempting to scare people. I don’t think this one in particular was too bad, and of course everyone starring in the video signed a waiver for the footage to be used so the people seen in the video below are clearly not ones too affected by the prank. There could have a few who refused to have their footage released, however, and there have been scary pranks in the past resulting in people taking legal action against the creator. Cons of prank advertising;

  • targeting anyone and everyone will always attract a demographic who WON’T be happy to be there
  • crossing the line is too easy
  • possibility of long-term trauma for participants




And the third comes from Dove, no stranger to hidden or prank advertising. This one set up two doors outside multiple buildings around the world, one marked “Average” and the other marked “Beautiful”. Everyone coming into the building had to choose which door they went through. The interesting part of this one was that some women said they weren’t sure whether they chose the “average” door because of that’s what they were constantly being told by mass-media and society, or if they truly believed it. It was then shown that the women who had walked through the “Average” door didn’t feel good about themselves afterwards, however when they came back the next day, and chose the “Beautiful” door instead, it felt amazing.

This campaign was put together to show women that the only labels that truly matter are the ones we give ourselves, and the more often you choose beautiful, the more true it becomes. This campaign was another good one, but it sits in between the extremes because it is very confronting. Forcing people to make that decision not only for themselves, but in the public eye as well makes it very hard to own up to yourself and be brave enough to call yourself beautiful. This campaign breathes positivity, and I just love that.


And even though I’ve listed 3, here’s another that I thought was a great idea;


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