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iPhone Hoax Actually a Viral Ad for a Dumb Movie

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"You know how they say we can only access 20% of our brain."

Unless that ends with, "Yeah, well, it's a crock," it's a horrible lead-in to a movie trailer. You could probably click aimlessly on web links for an hour or two and eventually come across any number of sites definitively disproving that well-trod myth. And yet, Hollywood based a $35 million film called Limitless around that premise.

Go figure.

But to build an audience comprised of more than just day traders with delusions of grandeur, the studio needed a hook -- maybe a viral campaign -- to get folks interested in and talking about this dumb movie.

That's where James Percelay and Michael Krivicka came in.

Founders of the marketing company Thinkmodo, the two men created a viral video that you have no doubt seen this week. In it, a man discusses a video transmitter he created which transfers the video from an iPhone to whichever video screen it's adjacent to. He demonstrated the device next to bus stop video screens and then sends a sensor up via helium balloon to a giant Times Square screen -- which then shows the man's face discussing the device.

The effect was well-done and duped a large chunk of the 1.2 million people who watched the clip on YouTube. But the New York Times recently pulled the curtain on Percelay and Krivicka who revealed that it was a viral marketing stunt for the movie Limitless.

A followup video was released revealing the subject on camera showing off a pill that makes him smarter -- yes, that's the actual MacGuffin in Limitless -- which assisted him in creating the device. The sequence then ends with an ad for the film.

"We're pushing the engagement of an idea which leads you then to the product," Percelay told the Times. "It just is a whole new mind-set where you don't have to wrap everything up in a bow and if you don't, people are going to be a lot more interested in you and what you're selling and what your message is."

And if it has little or nothing to do with not only the movie but reality as well, even better.
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.