The video starts with an attractive, rugged adventurous-looking guy and a group of his friends out in a corn field at night pushing around a long board as if they are making crop circles. In the 15 second clip, the protagonist twice checks with his best friend behind the shaky camera – “You getting this?” “Yeah, dude. This is gonna be awesome!”
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Now it’s the daytime with our protagonist, who is clearly a veteran skydiver, is giddy as he walks to an airplane with his girlfriend who is excited, but a bit timid, about doing her first solo jump. She murmurs something to this effect and he comforts her. The best friend cameraman whips the camera around on himself and gives a grin and a wink as they all three climb into the plane.
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It’s noisy now in the plane up at jumping altitude. Our threesome are pumping themselves up with excitement and anticipation. The pilot says, something cliched like “Okay, bombs away!” and they open the door, and jump simultaneously, with the couple holding hands. Some excited screaming, and then the protagonist waves to his girlfriend and points down at the ground. The camera shakily pans down and we can see what they had been up to the night before. In the corn field below is written “WILL YOU MARRY ME, SUSAN?” The girlfriend squeals with delight and gives the thumbs up, and they hug, causing them to somersault a bit.
The cameraman shouts a barely audible “Okay, guys, that’s enough!” and the couple push apart and prepare to pull their chutes. The girl pulls her cord, but nothing happens. She freaks out a little bit, but her more experienced fiancé reminds her about her secondary cord. She pulls that, and nothing happens. We hear the camera man utter an “Oh my god!” Our protagonist goes to his fiancé’s pack and tries to pull loose the chute. The camera man pulls his cord and we briefly lose sight of the free falling couple. The camera is lowered and we see them plummet to the ground, landing with a puff of dust right in the flattened dot of the question mark.
The video continues shakily, to let the audience marinate in their horror, as the cameraman lands in the corn sobbing. We get a brief shot of his face before he reaches behind the camera and it cuts to black.
After a second, we see the text with the sponsor’s name, and some message like,
You handle the romance.
Let ErikRas Insurance keep you safe.
Is that a complete non sequitur? Yes. Does anyone care? No.
The budget for making such a video could be kept pretty low. You need three skilled skydivers and maybe two or three jumps worth of takes. You need a field where you can film the initial scene of corn flattening. And the rest is computer effects. Any halfway descent Hollywood effects studio could generate the 3D model of the message written in the corn and sync it to the motion of the camera, probably with some sort of grid of bright dots on the ground that would later be edited out. And then you just need a 3D model of two humans with parachute packs on to fall to the ground.
Why It Will Work
The best viral videos are the ones that get forwarded both by those who love them and by those who hate them. You’ll have plenty of haters, people annoyed a corporation for tugging at their emotions or who simply think it’s distasteful. And it is distasteful…but it’s also sensational and shocking. Searching the internet for “skydiving marriage proposal” turns up several people who have thought of popping the question at terminal velocity, even some that have written it on the ground. The whole point of viral video marketing is to get your company name out there and into people’s heads. A video like this, if done well, would definitely get passed around. Neither confirming nor denying that the video was faked will only add to the publicity.