Is it a viral video? An ad? An event? Yes. Thank you Allen Funt, for this 60 year-old idea.

March 21, 2010 — Leave a comment

There is a great genre of video that has caught fire online. The formula is simple: create an ad-like thing, display it in public, video peoples’ reactions, distribute the video. It’s a rather brilliant way to cover a lot of ground without a ton of money.

It’s been a strong trend since 2008. But in no way is this new. We can thank Allen Funt, the guy who created the TV show Candid Camera in 1948. It was huge. A young Woody Allen was on it. It led to America’s Funniest Home Videos, Jackass, Punk’d. Funt’s stroke of genius: recognizing that people love watching people get surprised.

Here are a few great examples.

And here’s a fairly crappy example of this idea from Big Boy.

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