Notice that there is no nature in this image.
The kid’s toy store Toys R Us decided to jump on the prank viral ad bandwagon and created a video where they fooled kids into thinking they were going on a boring field trip with a park ranger to look at trees.
Yay! Free toy at a toy store!
Except the reality prank didn’t go over too well with many in its intended audience: parents, and especially moms.
Will Burns from Forbes magazine writes about how the ad agency screwed up:
In order for this film to work, they needed to get a rise from the kids, so they decided to bore the kids senseless with an iconic and "boring" topic. So far, so good. But do they take on, I dunno, a boring symphony? That’s an iconic yawner for kids. No. A tour of a government building? Nope. A cold, quiet museum? Nadda.
No, they take on Mother Nature and, in the process, provoke the nature of mothers.
Take a look and see what you think.
Behind the scenes of busloads of wishes at Toys"R"Us!
Mr. Burns asked women with expertise in marketing to weigh in, and they said that lots of advertising (and especially this ad) is missing a female perspective.
It’s also the nature of prank ads and viral ads in general – you think you’re making a hit, but instead you might be taking a lot of hits.
In contrast, here are some prank reality ads Mr. Burns thinks got it right.
An LG TV ad creates a fake window using their ultra-realistic TV and then displays an end-of-the-world meteor strike.
Ultra Reality What would you do in this situation
In Switzerland, Samsung showcases its new technology that tracks where a viewer’s eyeballs are looking by setting up a "stare-down" and then trying to distract the viewers.
(I think it would have been funnier with some nearly naked distractors, but maybe that doesn’t distract the Swiss as much as a hot dog vendor on fire.)
Samsung GALAXY S4 – Stare Down im Zurich HB
And finally, a Carlsburg beer ad shows how far friends will go when someone says he’s in big trouble.
Carlsberg puts friends to the test
Reality Prank From Toys R Us Backfires With Women, Forbes>>