I’m not sure the last time I sat through an entire advert on YouTube. I feel I’ve become pretty good at hovering the mouse over the ‘Skip Ad’ button so I can hit it as soon as the 10 seconds are up, almost like a ‘test your reactions’ game.
While adverts are now an inevitable part of watching, well, anything really, it seems one YouTube marketing campaign has gone too far for some people.
An advert for The Nun, an upcoming horror film from Warner Bros. and the latest in The Conjuring franchise, has been removed from YouTube after it attracted a number of complaints. The company found it violated their ‘shocking content policy’.
The policy reads:
We value diversity and respect for others, and we strive to avoid offending or shocking users with ads, websites, or apps that are inappropriate for our ad network.
As is expected from horror films, the adverts for them are going to be pretty scary.
However, it seems viewers were most offended by the ‘jumpscare’ tactics of The Nun‘s latest viral marketing campaign.
What also caught out viewers was the way the advert duped people, mimicking the ‘Skip Ad’ button, with a warning to viewers to turn down the volume, before a grotesque image from the film flashes onscreen, accompanied by a loud bang and piercing scream, according to Polygon.
Though the image only appears for a split second, it’s enough to shock people and make them react.
Taking to Twitter, one person wrote:
WARNING! If you see an ad on youtube with the volume sign being turned down and nothing else, ITS A JUMPSCARE for the new NUN movie coming out. i advise you look away and/or turn down the volume if you have anxiety or just straight up hate jumpscares,
WARNING! If you see an ad on youtube with the volume sign ??? being turned down and nothing else, ITS A JUMPSCARE for the new NUN movie coming out. i advise you look away and/or turn down the volume if you have anxiety or just straight up hate jumpscares, pls rt to save a life
— apple ? (@bbydvas) August 12, 2018
To which YouTube replied:
Appreciate you bringing this to our attention! This ad violates our shocking content policy and it's no longer running as an ad. More info here: https://t.co/dOUocjUevh
— Team YouTube (@TeamYouTube) August 14, 2018
The adverts have caused so much outrage that a Reddit thread has even appeared dedicated to the issue.
Of course, as with most viral marketing campaigns, the more publicity the better, and this scare tactic is obviously working.
You can watch the cinematic trailer (not the YouTube trailer) for The Nun here:
Set in 1952, the film will follow Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga), a young nun, and Father Burke (Demián Bichir), a Catholic priest as they investigate the apparent suicide of a nun at the Cârța Monastery in Romania.
Like Annabelle before it, The Nun serves as a prequel to The Conjuring films and will reveal the dark and troubling origin of one of the film’s supernatural threats, specifically the sinister sister, known by the demonic name Valak.
The Nun will make her way into theatres on September 7.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.