Hats off to Warner Bros. and New Line for bringing more attention to one of their latest B-level creations than any schlocky horror film deserves.
They put an ad on YouTube that scared the living bejesus out of some folks, who complained to YouTube.
And YouTube took the ad down, or told the studios to. Apparently, the Google-owned online video giant has rules about content that scares the crap out of people. Certain content deemed “shocking” is not allowed.
The film in question is “The Nun,” due out next month. It’s about a nun in Romania who kills herself. Maybe….or maybe not. A priest and a neophyte nun are sent to investigate. Why cops or detectives weren’t called in is anyone's guss.
The ad resorted to good old-fashioned “jump scare” tactics. Although it was only six seconds long — not much time to build up tension. The devious part, according to reports, is that the ad was placed with comedy and music videos, so I guess people weren’t expecting a zombie nun to suddenly leap onto the screen.
The ad started off innocuously enough, showing only a pulsing volume icon and then boom, scary nun pops up along with some scary-screechy sound effects. And that’s it.
Who knows what the ad cost. I don’t think there’s any question that it paid for itself in earned media.
But here’s the biggest problem: Warner and New Line are major leaguer film makers and promoters. Amateurs are going to emulate them.
When pros pull a stunt like this, it only encourages knuckleheads like Logan Paul, who infamously posted footage of a suicide victim in a Japanese forest late last year.
So it’s a brand safety issue, as much as anything else.
I’m not sure there’s a solution. It seems to be the world we live in.