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A frame from a videoshows what the posters claimed was a shark near Kingston, Ont, posted to YouTube on July 10, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, YouTube, Fisher86
A frame from a videoshows what the posters claimed was a shark near Kingston, Ont, posted to YouTube on July 10, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, YouTube, Fisher86

THE MIX

Video ad pranksters get bitten Add to ...

Canadian marketers are having a bad summer when it comes to orchestrating stunts.

Last week, Molson Coors Canada apologized after a scavenger hunt promotion in Toronto for its Coors Light brand led to a call to authorities about a suspicious package. The call resulted in rerouted streetcars and commuter delays. Molson said it had worked with authorities before the campaign to avoid this kind of alarm.

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This week, another marketer also rose public alarm. Bell Media had a misstep with an ill-fated prank video about a shark sighting in Lake Ontario. The video was actually part of a promotion for Discovery Canada’s “Shark Week” programming and its sponsor, Nissan. According to Bell Media, during Shark Week a Nissan-sponsored series will ask, “Could sharks surface in the Great Lakes?” The network said it did not expect people to take the video seriously.

But those who were fooled are among those who feel that the now all-too-common trend of prank advertising has jumped the shark.

Netflix’s movie moments

Netflix Canada has found its advertising groove with a campaign that plays on movie tropes. Last month, its commercial – featuring a coach who rallies his team by invoking “that scene from that movie” – won an award in Cannes. And New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault granted the brand free publicity during the Stanley Cup playoffs when he told reporters that “I had my Netflix imitation ready for you guys today.”

So the company is doubling down on its approach with the “You Gotta Get it to Get It” slogan. New ads have launched playing on movie clichés (“you had me at the thing that sounded like the thing the guy said in the movie”). And its clever print and online ads use illustrations alluding to well-known films (a tiger tail peeking out of a boat for Life of Pi, for example, or a leg sticking out of a wood chipper for Fargo).

Bringing home the bacon

The Montreal-based creators of the Epic Meal Time YouTube channel have become famous for their extreme dedication to bacon. The macho online cooking show has used it in such unholy creations as Cherrywood Chocolate Bacon Bark, an All-Bacon Burger and Bacon Corn Dog Cupcakes.

It has led to two of its creators being hired to star in Carl’s Jr. ads. But now, the Web series has a bacon sponsor. Hormel Foods Corp. has signed on for one year as the official bacon partner of Epic Meal Time, and will supply the chefs with more than 1,300 pounds of product over one year. The high-calorie kitchen shenanigans have drawn more than a cult following among coveted younger consumers – the channel has roughly 6.4 million subscribers on YouTube. Which raises a question for bacon brands: What took so long?

Follow on Twitter: @susinsky

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