Mobile phone footage of a marriage proposal gone horribly wrong got over 100 000 hits in one day before it was rumoured that the video is actually part of a social media campaign for Cadbury Bournville chocolate.
While there have been conflicting reports on where the video was made (some are saying a shopping centre in Saudi Arabia, others India), the impact has been global empathy. What begins as a sickly sweet marriage proposal ends with an episode of domestic violence (and the most unambiguous break-up in internet history).
Shaky phone footage shows a young couple approach a band in the centre of the mall. The young man stammers his way through a speech, declaring that his girlfriend is “his sweetie-pie, his cutie-pie”…etc. As it continues, they are interrupted and have to move when a Cadbury train scuttles past, bearing the new logo for Bournville: “Not so sweet”.
Visibly mortified, the woman at the centre of attention becomes more panicky as he gets to his knees to propose. Completely gripped with desperation, she grabs a ukelele from the band and hits him across the head.
But it’s all fake. At least if you believe the rumours flying that the well timed Cadbury train in the middle of the footage is no mistake, and is in fact part of the brands new “Not so sweet” social media direction.
YouTube has been central in other elements of the campaign, with Twitter followers encouraged to share moments they thought were #notsosweet. The brand then filmed short films based on the idea, in a huge range of videos named Tape a Tweet. Subjects range from annoying and cling couples to annoying friends. The #notsosweet tag has also included cheeky references to pop culture around the #notsosweet theme. With the tone and direction of the campaign in mind, the proposal video does not seem an unlikely addition. In fact, as they go, it’s pretty much ideal.
Cadbury’s parent company are reportedly denying all knowledge of the video.
With more than 200 000 views on one version of the video (it is now being hosted by several YouTube accounts), and the rumours now surrounding the videos origin, the video has not done Cadbury a disservice, whether it originated from them or not.