(NEW YORK) -- A new LG ad has people buzzing for its intense shock value. The commercial, posted to YouTube on Monday, shows people from technology company LG working on an office in Chile. They place one of their 84-inch HD TVs in the spot where the window should be and wire the place with hidden cameras.
Their plan was simple: Invite unsuspecting job applicants into the wired office, and during the interview the applicants will see a scene of doom -- a scene of falling meteors -- unfolding through the “window.” Not surprisingly, the job applicants freak out. The room goes dark and the job hopefuls hunker down. When the lights come up, the office door is opened and the prank is revealed. Some of the applicants are able to laugh it off, but one man storms off angrily.
As of Thursday night, the ad had been seen more than three million times on YouTube. Many found it funny and others praised the realism of the doomsday scene that played out on the television, but some viewers were highly skeptical. One commenter thought the job applicants were actors. LG wouldn’t confirm or deny the speculation when contacted by ABC News.
The commercial is the latest in a trend known as “prankvertising.” Advertisers have been scrambling to out-do each other with elaborate, arguably sadistic scenarios designed to shock the viewers and go viral. Critics of shock ads say they pose real concerns. What if one of the subjects has a heart attack? What if viewers are totally turned off by the extreme tactics employed by the advertiser? They also question whether the ads translate to increased sales. “People have no idea if it helps generate sales,” said Christopher Heine of Adweek. “That said, it does generate publicity and brands can only hope that the publicity would be positive and not negative.”
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