Funny Business with Jane Wells

Yikes! 'Carrie' promo scares New Yorkers in cafe

Still from the new release of Carrie.
Source: Sony Pictures

Wanna scare members of Congress and the president into reaching a deal to reopen the government? Put Carrie on the case.

In what may be the creepiest (and potentially actionable!) promotion ever for a movie, a viral marketing team from Thinkmodo hired by MGM planted actors and special effects inside a New York coffee shop to pull a "Carrie"-inspired meltdown on innocent customers.

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"Carrie" you may recall, is the Stephen King story about a high school misfit who discovers she has supernatural and super deadly powers. The Sissy Spacek version gave me nightmares in 1976, and now the movie is being remade starring Chloë Grace Moretz in time for Halloween.

Watch the video inside the cafe, as an actor posing as a customer knocks over the coffee of a young woman, drenching her laptop keyboard. She gets angry, really angry. He's thrown back against a wall, books start flying. CUSTOMERS START FREAKING OUT. Thank goodness no one had a heart attack.

The cafe where this was staged is called "sNice" in the West Village. Doesn't seem very sNice to me.

The video launched this week and has over 30 million hits so far on Youtube. Effective? Obviously. Litigious? Hey, this is America. What are all those law school graduates supposed to do? The customers look terrified, and that's saying something for New Yorkers.

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A company spokesman for Thinkmodo said the customers were real customers, not actors. All of the bystanders seen in the video signed releases afterward ... that is, after they'd calmed down. "It was a bit of a risk," a spokesman acknowledged.

Seriously, though, let's send this crew to scare the bejeezus out of Washington. We need to start throwing some chairs around.

—By CNBC's Jane Wells; Follow her on Twitter: @janewells

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