Marshall Ross, executive creative director at Chicago-based agency Cramer-Krasselt, admits he can't explain the viral sensation caused by www.stealthdisco.com, a website entirely devoted to showing C-K employees secretly shaking their rumps, '70s-style, behind their clueless co-workers. "I never thought it would be funny to anyone outside of Cramer-Krasselt," he says. Oh, but it is, and apparently lots of people agree. After a passing mention in a trade pub, the site logged 180,000 visitors in three weeks, earning it a spot on Entertainment Weekly's Must List. "I've tried to show my kids the site at home, and I can rarely get on at night because it's so bogged down," Ross says.
The "stealthing" craze began at the agency's Chicago office six months ago, when the staff was relocated to a temporary space during a renovation. The open plan provided perfect fodder for art director David Estoye to set up scenes of people going about their business, with co-workers dancing madly behind their backs, all captured on digital video. "It kind of became viral within the office," Ross says. "People would ask, 'Have you been stealthed yet?' - and if you haven't been stealthed then you probably aren't cool." In late August, the clips were collected on the site, including the hilarious "Best of" compilation, as a matter of convenience, to give C-K staffers access to all the stealth footage. But then the hits started pouring in, something that Ross notes - all goofing around aside - hasn't been bad for the shop's profile. "Completely by accident it has done remarkably well for the agency's publicity, at least among the universe that matters to us."