Creativity 50 2013: James Percelay, Michael Krivicka

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If there’s a prank video making the rounds on your Facebook feed, chances are Thinkmodo’s behind it. The New York viral-marketing agency has created a voice-activated popcorn machine that pops kernels right into your mouth and partnered with Oakley and Bubba Watson on a hovercraft golf cart—a stunt that more than doubled online sales. 

James Percelay and Michael Krivicka, the duo that runs this small shop, maintain that hoaxes do translate to raising sales.  

Why do their pranks take off? Mr. Percelay says it’s because they manage to walk a line between fantasy and reality. “What we do is all about nuance,” he said. And they don’t use CGI, preferring work that’s authentic -- or as authentic as a corpse appearing behind the mirror of a beauty salon can be. (The agency pulled off that particular move for the movie “The Last Exorcism 2.”) 

Right now, Thinkmodo is in expansion mode, although the founders maintain they will keep it small enough that they will touch every project. “We’ll never sell out to a large shop,” said Mr. Percelay. “We don’t want to lose control.”

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