Saturday, September 12, 2009

Derren Brown's Brilliant PR Stunt (and how he did it)

As a PR expert, I take my hat of to Derren Brown. He has pulled off some audacious stunts before, but his use of viral PR on the Internet this week was brilliant. The Lottery predictions were a clever trick, of course (explanation in a moment). The real trick, however, was to promote himself across the world using YouTube and social media. His videos have had millions of viewings this week, added to by the tongue-in-cheek nonsense on his Friday show, when he "revealed" the secret. Of course the "deep maths" was yet another mis-direction to keep the mystery (and the viral PR) going. I don't expect him to win the Lottery tonight.

Oh yes, how did he do it? Simple split-screen technology. Watch the video below. At 5.09, watch the left-hand side of the screen as he says "28". It freezes as the switch is made from a pre-filmed image back to full screen. Around 20 seconds prior to that, the left-hand side of the screen switches from live to pre-recorded, to allow his assistant to replace the balls unseen. Even the camera shake is a mis-direction. There's no need to have a hand-held camera in a studio like that. It's all to do with suggestion, which Brown is a master at.

Nonetheless, it's the PR aspect I admire. Well done to Derren and his team. That's magic!

No comments: