Christmas carol karaoke-ers recently got surprised with the chance to sing in front of tens of thousands of people across New York City and Washington D.C. in a digital out-of-home stunt pulled by beer brand Heineken.
The carolers were unwittingly part of a Heineken promotion that was about to give them the chance to perfrom in public on digital signage screens across the two metropolises.
New Yorkers were invited ito step into Heineken's special booth and pick a classic Christmas carol to sing. However, a few lines into the song, a curtain was pulled aside to reveal a camera. And it was ready to begin streaming onto Digital OOH formats — on a giant screen in Times Square, in every taxi in New York and in front of thousands of people at an NBA game. Participants were given the choice to either quietly walk away or continue their carol.
According to AdAge, the "Carol Karaoke" project was the brainchild of Wieden & Kennedy New York, as an extension of Heineken's "Open Your World" brand positioning:
Heineken invited unsuspecting New Yorkers for an evening of beer, food and all-you-can-sing karaoke at Boho Karaoke in New York City. There was just one catch — they had to sing at least one carol. Throughout the evening, people were asked to step into a "VIP room," then as they began singing their carol, the fourth wall in front of them collapsed, revealing a full broadcast studio and screens showing them singing on the jumbotron in Washington D.C.'s Verizon Center, in Taxi TV screens in NYC cabs, and in Times Square. They had a couple of moments to decide whether to continue belting out either "Jingle Bells," "Deck the Halls" or "12 Days of Christmas."
The creative director at Wieden estimated to AdAge that probably 75 percent of the karaoke singers surprised in the stunt continued singing, even after they knew their performance was being broadcast for thousands to see.