A new campaign for romance novels Harlequin sends fictional heroes like a cowboy and a Viking into some real-life dating situations, along with a hidden camera crew.
In the first of two online films, by BBDO Toronto, a petite woman goes bowling with a huge, burly, Viking, causing much mirth among customers at the bowling alley. Another spot sees a middle-aged woman take a sexy cowboy with a lasso on a date to a restaurant, to the bemusement of fellow diners.
The aim of the campaign, directed by Timothy Hamilton at Circle Productions, is to bring to life the idea of using Harlequin (based in Toronto, and now owned by News Corp) as a romantic escape. While it brings home that point, the real joy is in watching the reactions of onlookers -- who, of course, mostly get out their phones to film it.
"It was really quite nerve-racking watching from behind the curtain -- you just never know how people are going to react," said Joel Pylypiw, an associate creative director at BBDO Toronto, in a statement. "Luckily for us, we captured some really funny moments."