In the lead-up to the mid-season premiere of The Walking Dead, AMC and its marketing folks pulled out all the stops, including a viral video prank last week in which people posing as zombies hid under NYC grates and scared passersby. When I posted the video last week, I jokingly suggested that I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the people pranked brought a lawsuit for intentional infliction of pant-sh*tting terror. Turns out, while there is no immediate threat of a civil lawsuit, the marketing team behind the prank could face criminal charges, according to the NYPost.
Why? Not because the prank posed any real threat to its victims, but because the Manhattan ad agency behind the stunt didn’t get permission from the city to hide out underneath city grates. From the NYPost:
“’We are deeply troubled by this video,’ an MTA spokesman said Sunday. ‘We have forwarded it to the NYPD and are also conducting our own investigation.’ … Cops said they hadn’t received a formal complaint from the MTA as of Sunday, a police source told the Post. But accessing subway grates and filming on city property without permits could result in charges of trespassing, criminal mischief and disorderly conduct, the source said.”
The ad agency, Relevent, insists that it filmed the video in accordance with city policies. This is the third prank viral video in recent months filmed in New York City, including one during marketing for the Carrie Remake, and one for Devil’s Due last month that received 41 million views on YouTube. It did not, however, translate into box-office dollars.
In case you missed The Walking Dead prank, here’s the video again.