It was the cab ride from hell. Stock car racer Jeff Gordon was in disguise as a taxi driving outlaw. He took an unsuspecting journalist for a terrifying police chase as part of the new ad campaign for PepsiMax. The drive stunt is the second for the Max brand. Both have been viewed millions of times on YouTube.
But they aren't the only commercial pranks to go viral recently.
Prior to the return of AMC's "The Walking Dead" series, people dressed like zombies reached up and grabbed New Yorkers. That clip has 5 million hits.
43 million people have viewed the creepy zombie baby spoof for the movie "Devil's Due."
And more than 50 million watched the elaborate telekinetic prank for the movie "Carrie," in which a coffee house's walls shake and patrons levitate.
Nader Ashway, creative director of Moddern Marketing, says the concept of guerilla marketing is not new. But these days companies competing in similar categories are looking for an edge and to capitalize on modern social media, he says.
If the goal is to get people talking, these ads are working. Marketing, after all, is about making an emotional connection. Surprise is a strong emotion.