by Erin DeJesus, Jun 23, 2008, 12:05 PM
Attention, television-viewing public: You've been Punk'd by a lady in red. Mysterious commercials promoting Scarlet, a new "series" from director David Nutter (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles), began generating buzz in mid-April. The spots mentioned no affiliated network, but they featured enough explosions and shots of the eponymous ass-kicking heroine (played by model/actress Natassia Malthe) to have Hollywood's A-list lining up for the premiere. Turns out the glossy teasers weren't pimping a new TV show. Instead, "Scarlet" actually referred to the name of LG's new red-backed LCD flat-screen televisions, a revelation that the ads - which mentioned no brand, logo or product information - carefully kept hidden. With subtle twists on language ("the hit new TV series," "I'm going to put [Scarlet] in every home in the country"), LG relied on viewers' assumptions for the ploy to work, and collected much Internet speculation in the process. The viral campaign, despite being conceived in-house, reportedly cost LG $100 million - 100,000 times more than the average budget for Punk'd.