To market its brand of "Stress Protect" deodorant, German skin and body care company Nivea (or, rather, their ad agency) came up with a hilarious marketing "prank" wherein innocent people are transformed into wanted criminals through the use of fake newspapers, public service announcements, and breaking news broadcasts.

Did I say hilarious? I meant absolutely horrifying.

Up until the Grand Reveal there is absolutely nothing to indicate that the unsuspecting target is being fooled. It all looks very real — because it's supposed to look very real.

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Nivea readily admits that it was purposely trying to "stress out" the marks, but claims it checked with friends of the victims beforehand to ensure that "a brief moment of stress would not be a problem" for the prankee.

Oh sure, because friends always share their entire medical history with one another. Very common stuff. And people always know how their friends are going to react when put in the most stressful situation imaginable in a place as no-nonsense as a public airport.

Anyway, no one died.

But something tells me that this growing trend of over-the-top advertising aimed at putting pretend pressure on an unwitting consumer is going to end badly when someone doesn't get the joke.

[H/T: HyperVocal]