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Is this real?

Our Concept Senior Account Executive, Ella Bradley, is taking a closer look at the content making waves on social.


Ella Bradley



At IMA we are proud champions of keeping it real, with authentic campaigns that reach modern audiences where ‘real’ speaks volumes.

This ethos isn’t limited to within the agency. With apps such as BeReal and TikTok shining a light on raw and unpolished content, this route in advertising is growing in popularity for both brands and consumers.

But with Jacquemus handbag cars and Maybelline lashed tubes making waves on social, how much of it is actually real?

Disrupting the FYP

With the recent launch of Threads, it has been pretty hard to escape conversations about the latest Meta app on social. That was until the Maybelline mascara wand stunt was released, which filled our feeds and turned every marketeer's head. If you haven’t seen it, the video features London buses and tubes with eyelashes attached, driving underneath HUGE Maybelline mascara wands. Pretty surreal, right?

This incredible 3D video was created by Ian Padgham (@origiful on Instagram) and this wasn’t his first rodeo. You may have come across the previously mentioned Jacquemus handbag cars that were seen racing down the streets of Paris. This is another Origiful video that completely took over newsfeeds. ‘Disruptive’ may be the buzzword of nightmares, but it perfectly describes the impact of these creative (digital) stunts.

Realistically Surreal

These videos are beautifully crafted, but that’s not the reason why they go viral. It takes a while for people to catch on that they are 3D renders with even news outlets reporting on the stunts as if they were actually physically implemented. We’re constantly looking for and trusting genuine and authentic content and if it’s shared on TikTok and in the news, it must be real…right?

The realistic surrealism of these projects is exactly what gets people talking. The videos are created in a portrait format for Reels and TikTok which adds a layer of authenticity, as if someone shot the stunts live on iPhone. Comments on the Maybelline TikTok include people asking which tube stops they can find the lashed trains, creating even more hype, organically.

Small Price 🤝 Big Impact

Of course, working with 3D artists on such huge projects won’t come cheap. But, in comparison to the cost of actually pulling off these out-of-home stunts, not forgetting the complications which come with activations, we can see why brands are opting to go down this route instead.

Launching such videos on social is also a great way to reach mass audiences. We’ve already seen the impact the Jacquemus and Maybelline examples had on social, and with the possibility of specifically targeting demographics by location as well as the ability for data capturing, the opportunities are huge.

Origiful is a fantastic example of brand and artist collaborations, it’s wonderful to see such work being celebrated on social. We know how difficult it can be to stop people scrolling in their tracks, but in an industry where real is taking centre stage, now is a good time to push the boundaries and discover how surreal advertising could work for your brand.


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