Let’s face it, this was always too good to be true.
A remarkable video of a hawk flying around, picking up a snake, then dropping onto a family barbeque has gone viral since it was released Tuesday morning.
Well, guess what? It’s a complete fake. The campaign, now dubbed “Embrace the hunt” was orchestrated by Australian rules football club, Hawthorn, to help launch its Australian Football League (AFL) finals campaign. The club came clean on Thursday afternoon.
Hawthorn collaborated with notorious film production firm, The Woolshed, who have been responsible for a string of fake viral videos for two years.
But the results are pretty telling. Not only did a host of media outlets across television and online share it (not Mashable though *wink*), but the YouTube video itself has attracted more than 200,000 views, with Hawthorn claiming a total of 5 million views were accumulated in the 48 hours after the video was posted.
“It was quite incredible,” said a Hawthorn spokesperson in a statement. “We wanted everyone to know that it’s September and the Hawks are on the attack and hopefully we’ve succeeded.”
“Our aim was to create a real buzz around the launch of our seventh consecutive finals campaign and really get people talking. The debate over its authenticity has been had by various media outlets across both Australia and the globe.
“Hopefully we havent scared too many people off a BBQ by the Yarra.”
The Huffington Post tried to verify the video with a so-called Douglas Wong, the name of a person behind the YouTube account that originally posted the video. It was assured it was “real footage” but suitably, the ploy didn’t impress.
“Doing a viral stunt is fine, but legit lying?” The Huffington Post’s Josh Butler said in a tweet on Thursday afternoon.
there’s a line between “haha we did a viral thing lol” and straight up lying to journalists to push your publicity stunt
Josh: Butler. (@JoshButler) September 1, 2016
It’s interesting to note the video has a nod to it’s own campaign for Hawthorn.
Around 28 seconds in, there is a blue portable cooler that has a Geelong Cats sticker on it. That’s because the Geelong Cats play Hawthorn in the first round of the AFL Finals on Sep. 9.
As irritating as it is, The Woolshed and Hawthorn did manage to fool a lot of people. Well done. Well. Done. *slow clap*
Mashable Australia have contacted The Woolshed for comment.