Nivea has employed an elaborate — and somewhat cruel — prank on German bystanders to advertise a new product.
An unassuming woman sitting at the airport looks up to see someone reading a newspaper with her face splashed across the front page.
Next, a broadcast over the public announcement system says to report any sighting of a wanted person, then describes the woman's clothes and height as she looks around, puzzled. An airport television reads "Breaking News" and the anchor says there is a dangerous and unpredictable woman on the loose. People stare and start to approach the woman, who looks terrified that she's been billed as a criminal.
Well, that's one way to advertise deodorant.
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Nivea aired footage of the prank, calling it 'Stress Test,' in its new commercial for Nivea Stress Protect Spray. The video has been viewed more than 4 million times on YouTube since the company uploaded it last week.
While it is mean, the preparation that went into this stunt deserves kudos for its attention to detail. The description says the victims were chosen in advance and lured to the airport by friends.
The beginning of the commercial shows someone snapping a picture of the victim before bringing the memory card to an accomplice on the computer, who places the image onto a realistic-looking tabloid front page.
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Then a man walks out with the fake newspaper and sits down within view of the target. The announcement and the television broadcast are orchestrated behind the scenes as someone secretly videotapes the person becoming more and more anxious.
The victims might need more than deodorant to deal with this stress test — Nivea should pay for therapy.
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