Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

Prepare to be CARRIEd away! This promotional campaign shocked customers through a seemingly real act! [Fridays: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing]

August 6, 2021

You’ve probably seen horror or sci-fi films where the main character has telekinetic powers, enabling him or her to move objects through non-physical means.

… but have you ever seen someone perform telekinesis IN REAL LIFE?

If you haven’t yet, then prepare yourself because this guerrilla marketing campaign for a movie will leave your eyes wide open because of a seemingly real telekinetic stunt!

Carrie is a 2013 American supernatural horror film starring Chloë Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore. The movie is a remake of the 1976 adaptation of Stephen King’s 1974 novel of the same name.


To promote the film, American film distributor Sony Pictures Releasing partnered with creative marketing agency Thinkmodo in producing a guerrilla marketing campaign that would encourage and interest the public to watch Carrie.

What was that campaign?

The Telekinetic Coffee Shop!

Since the film revolves around the story of Carrie White, an introverted high school girl with telekinetic powers, the campaign team thought it would be best to stick to the movie’s core to capture the public’s attention.

Here’s how the campaign played out:

At the ‘sNice Coffee Shop in West Village, New York City, a girl was busy working on her laptop. Suddenly, a clumsy customer accidentally poured his coffee on the girl’s device, causing arguments between the two.


As things got more heated up, the girl raised her hand in the air and the next thing customers saw was…

The man was pinned to the wall!


The girl’s rage didn’t seem to end with the man. As she continued to express her anger by screaming, the tables, chairs, and books at the coffee shop started rocking, shaking, and falling.


Customers were shocked, scared, and freaking out as they witnessed this “supernatural” phenomenon!

Was the campaign too good to be true to show a girl with real telekinetic powers?

These were the things the Carrie movie’s campaign team did to make the act look real:

  • A fake brick wall was set up to hoist the clumsy customer actor in a harness.
  • Tables and chairs were remote controlled so that they moved once the girl screamed.
  • Books and pictures were all spring loaded so that they fell off the wall during the girl’s tantrum.
  • Some “customers” near the scene were also actors so they played along to increase the emotional impact of the stunt.

Once unsuspecting customers entered the coffee shop to buy their favorite cup of joe, that’s when the actors started their role play.

Hidden cameras all over the store captured the priceless and unsolicited reactions of the real customers!


So much for ordering a daily dose of caffeine!

After the whole act, the actors approached the shocked customers and handed flyers about the upcoming 2013 movie remake of Carrie. That’s when consumers realized what they witnessed was just a promotional move for the film.


The campaign team compiled and edited the footage from each of the hidden cameras into one video, uploaded it on YouTube, and showed it on TV as part of commercial trailers for the Carrie movie to maximize the campaign’s reach.

Was the “Telekinetic Coffee Shop” Effective in Promoting Carrie?

Sony and Thinkmodo’s campaign was executed for one day only and yet it generated buzz all over the Internet and around the world.

According to some of the unsuspecting customers who experienced the campaign firsthand, they had an inkling that it could be fake but regardless, it still gave them the “willies”―a strong feeling of nervousness and discomfort.

Here are the results recorded after the one-day execution of the campaign:

  • The “Telekinetic Coffee Shop” gained nationwide media coverage in the US and was featured in different articles and broadcasts from Los Angeles Times, Business Insider, TIME Magazine, Reuters, Fox News, Good Morning America, USA Today, and many more.
  • After 24 hours, the uploaded video garnered over 50 million views on YouTube and 65 million TV views.
  • The campaign became Unruly Media’s “No. 8 Most Shared Ad of 2013.”
  • The “Telekinetic Coffee Shop” helped generate public interest and anticipation for the 2013 remake of Carrie. After 3 weeks of showing on theater screens worldwide, the movie earned USD 82 million in ticket sales!

Sony and Thinkmodo deserve a round of applause for their clever strategy to raise awareness about the film!

Teasers, trailers, and other conventional marketing tactics help promote a movie.

… but one of the ways to effectively advertise films, especially the ones in the horror genre?

Creating a guerrilla marketing campaign or an interactive experience that will compel consumers to go to the cinema and buy their own movie tickets!

Get inspired with Sony and Thinkmodo’s out-of-the-box campaign for Carrie.

Who knows?

You may not have the telekinetic power, but you have the power to attract consumers through fun, shocking, and memorable campaigns that stick to your business’ core and convince your target market to act on your call to action!

About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Fridays: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing”

Jay Conrad Levinson (1984) said that Guerrilla Marketing “works because it’s simple to appreciate, easy to execute, and inexpensive.”

Guerrilla Marketing is unconventional.

Looking beyond the traditional ways of advertising, marketers, and advertisers need to spice things up in order for their brand to have campaigns that not only make an impact but also stick to their target market’s mind.

Guerrilla Marketing usually aims to have direct contact with consumers.

This type of direct contact should spark an emotional reaction that leads to consumers effectively remembering the brand.

It’s about making a big impression and making that impression last a long time (if not forever).

Guerrilla Marketing can be inexpensive.

The effect of this is being able to create a buzz around the brand, and the strategy used to market it. Almost everything is passed around through word-of-mouth.

Word-of-mouth is one of the greatest outcomes and it usually doesn’t cost anything.

This is every business’ or brand’s dream!

Every Friday, we publish tips, examples, and other useful content on unconventional ways of marketing and promotion.

Learn more about how to grab your target market’s attention and make an amazing first and lasting impression without having to spend a lot of money.

Businesses don’t really need to spend much for a guerrilla campaign. You do not need a big budget to be successful. You just need creativity and a good imagination.

Hope you’ve found this week’s guerrilla marketing insight interesting and helpful.

Stay tuned for next Friday’s Gorillas of Guerrilla!


Kyle Yu
Head of Marketing
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
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