You may have seen this viral video: Hooded man walks into a car workshop and apparently holds the workshop employee at knifepoint. The employee remotely closes the door. Both men walk out of view of the security camera. Then, suddenly, the hooded man runs through the workshop and desperately tries to open the door as the other man appears to point a gun at him.
At gunpoint, the hooded man washes two cars. The video ends. But the story continues.
The video was uploaded to Youtube in October 2016 and soon spread all over the world as people applauded the workshop employee’s teaching the wannabe robber a lesson.
But two months later, Spanish director and producer Oriac Llonch Esteve published a video on Youtube that shows he set up the whole thing.
“[I] decided to create this video to demonstrate that I was able to create a fake that had a great impact on YouTube and then direct that audience to a second video, shown at the end of the first Youtube video, to demonstrate to companies that this can be a way to promote a product,” he told The Epoch Times via email.
It took him two months of planning and preparation, but he managed to imitate the feel of an authentic incident caught on security camera and attract millions of viewers across YouTube, Facebook, and other social platforms.
He took the role of the robber, while his father played the workshop employee.
“I always had faith in the project,” he said. “I edited several versions until finding the most realistic one.”
He has since created another video using the same tactic. It showed a teacher getting increasingly annoyed at a student and finally taking a laptop computer and smashing it onto a desk. The video was picked up by multiple media only to be revealed—a week later—by Llonch as a promotion stunt for a college tutoring platform.
“You have to keep the fake for a while until it is considered viral so the efforts are not in vain,” he said.
Despite the deception, most people respond positively when learning the truth, he said.
“You can verify that 90 percent of people who comment on the videos on my YouTube channel like this type of content,” he said. “There is always a small percentage (approx 10 percent) that they feel cheated.”