Viral Marketing Campaign Spooks Coffee Shop Patrons

A viral marketing campaign for the remake of the horror movie Carrie sent visitors at a Manhattan coffee shop scrambling for the door. Images below depict the event. But it was all in good fun.

viral marketing campaign

viral marketing campaign

Unsuspecting customers at ‘Snice coffee shop were sitting at tables or lining up to make their purchases. Suddenly a couple of hired actors got into a rehearsed argument resulting in what appears to be a telekinetic fit.

The elaborate prank involved stuntmen, fake walls and furniture rigged with remote controls. You can view the prank in its entirety in the video above.

NYC based marketing firm Thinkmodo was the brains behind the spooky campaign. You might wonder what scaring coffee shop customers has to do with promoting a movie. But it definitely grabbed people’s attention. The video received more than 43,000,000 views on YouTube in two weeks.

And this isn’t the first time Thinkmodo has used unusual tactics to promote a project.

Thinkmodo applied a similar approach when promoting The Last Exorcism 2 inside a beauty shop in February for CBS Films.

viral marketing campaign

In July 2012, AMC enlisted Thinkmodo to bring attention to the fact that it was being dropped from Dish Network. So Thinkmodo dressed people up like zombies from AMC’s The Walking Dead series and had them run around New York City.

The prank resulted in a lot of New Yorkers running away screaming, but also more than 24,000,000 views on YouTube.

viral marketing campaign

It’s not just the producers of scary movies and TV shows that have turned to Thinkmodo for creative viral campaigns.

Popcorn Indiana is a retailer of popcorn and other healthy snacks. But when the company had the idea to change the way people actually eat popcorn, they turned to Thinkmodo.

The company and ad agency thought up a device that launches popcorn directly at a person’s mouth when they say “pop.” Then they created a viral campaign for the product, dubbed The Popinator.

viral marketing campaign

So how do these kinds of campaigns actually help a product or brand?

In the case of the Carrie prank, the video reached a wide audience and drew attention to the movie’s release. So the video not only promoted the movie to audiences who might have otherwise been unaware. It also created a sample of the kind of entertainment audiences might expect from the movie itself.

In the case of Popcorn Indiana, you won’t find The Popinator for sale on the company’s website. But, people who may have never even heard of Popcorn Indiana could see the video and visit the company’s site to learn more about the products they do sell.

In all of the above cases, Thinkmodo utilizes a unique approach that surprises audiences and grabs their attention. If a little additional news coverage results, so much the better! Thinkmodo’s website boasts:

Our unique strategy generates tremendous online engagement and valuable earned media coverage worldwide.

The NYC based company was founded in 2011 by James Percelay and Michael Krivicka, both writers and filmmakers who’s clients now include companies ranging from Sony Pictures to Cosmopolitan.

How is your marketing campaign grabbing customers’ attention?

[Images: AdsOfTheWorld]


Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

8 Reactions
  1. I have mixed emotions about this kind of stuff. Yes it garners a ton of views online and generates publicity, but for the actual customers there they may never come back.

    • Hmm. Interesting point. What does it do for the customers involved; they didn’t sign up for it.

      Would I have come back to that coffee shop? Knowing me, I would have! (out of curiosity)

      I wonder if it was a real coffee shop though.

    • Haha you’re right. But I like how it is laid out especially since it’s Halloween. It can generate a lot of views but it is not really a good way of promoting a coffee shop.

      • Aira: I guess promoting the coffee shop wasn’t really their aim.

        If I was a customer, I’d stick with the coffee shop as it would stand out to me for obvious reasons. 🙂

        My only concern would be kids. What if there were kids there?

  2. I saw the ‘Carrie’ video prank when it first came out. I thought it interesting, not particularly funny, but it was intriguing to see how people reacted; it also made wonder how I’d react if I was one of the customers there and whether I would have fallen for it.

  3. I find this hilarious. Even if I was a scared customer, I’d be coming back and bringing my friends just to prank them.

  4. I loved the video. I totally understand why it went viral. It’s a short piece of entertainment and I think many people that have never heard of the movie before saw this video. I shared instantly when I saw it. The guys at Thinkmodo did a great job once again.

  5. Hi,

    I’m not sure I’d go back to that coffee shop. I loved the video, though. Thinkmodo knows how to get their customers the attention they want, for sure.

    Great video and post. Very entertaining. 🙂
    Geri Richmond

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