18 March 2011 166 Views

Times Square Video Hack Turns Out To Be Viral For ‘Limitless’

by Dan Koelsch

On Sunday, a video was posted to YouTube that got people wondering whether it was real or fake. In it, a man shows off an iPhone transmitter he invented that allows video to be transmitted to any screen the receiver is near. He demonstrated it in Times Square, including on the jumbotron on One Times Square. After three days, the unknown user, named BITcrash44, uploaded a video explaining how he used a drug that may be familiar to our readers to do it.

The original video quickly went viral, being featured on many mainstream websites like Sports Illustrated and CBS, gaining over a million views.

The validity of the video remained in question (despite many response videos declaring it fake) until Wednesday, when the user posted their second video that has the man featured explaining how he came up with the invention before demonstrating it.

While him saying that the drug NZT helped him should be tip off to our followers, the obvious giveaway that the video is fake is the Limitless ad at the end. Opening in theaters today, the movie features Bradley Cooper as a failed writer who takes the drug NZT, which allows you to access 100$ of our brain’s potential, and becomes an instant success before becoming a target. If you watch the video again, you’ll notice that the jumbotron is playing a similar commercial for the film when the receiver hacks the screen.

There has been a lot of backlash against this marketing ploy, including from Alex from FirstShowing who tipped us off to it (via Corey A.). Sure, a lot of people saw it, but does knowing it’s just promotion for a movie ruin the experience of watching the original video? Also, unbranded marketing is always a dangerous road to travel, because even if you explain the purpose later, it may be too late. In this case, the second video came several days later and hasn’t been nearly as successful as the first (less than 30,000 views as of this post), so how many of those million plus people even know what the video and demonstration were for? It’s very common for viewers not to follow up on viral videos.

What do you think, was this a viral marketing FAIL? We’ve featured a few of the film’s direct mail and video marketing attempts, which have all had mixed responses. Give us your opinion of the marketing campaign for Limitless in the comments below.



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