‘Did you break this?’ Lenovo Yoga ad pranks stunned shoppers

One minute, you’re innocently walking through the mall, the next you’re being accused of snapping an Apple Mac in two.

“We’re here at the mall, and we’re going to mess with some people,” three members of comedy troupe Upright Citizens Brigade say at the beginning of a new video. Any time those guys utter words like that, you know you’re in for a good time. This time the fun comes courtesy of Lenovo, which tried a “prankvertising” approach to promoting its flexible Lenovo Yoga 3 laptop to Millennial consumers who might not be as receptive to traditional advertising.

The stunt involves UCB members posing as employees of Lenovo and touting the hinged hybrid computer to shoppers passing by a laptop-test-drive kiosk at Pennsylvania’s Plymouth Meeting Mall.

“What makes this laptop special, among many things, is that it bends,” the fake employee tells shoppers of the laptop that transforms into a tablet. “Yoga, you get it. Try and do that with a Mac.” He then picks up what appears to be a MacBook Air and proceeds to break the thing in two.

It’s amusing to watch the stunned look on shoppers’ faces as fake Lenovo guy does his damage, then hands half of the broken laptop to the shoppers and takes off, leading a faux mall security guy to show up and demand of the unsuspecting consumers, “Did you break this?” Of course, they deny it.

“If we had a security camera, we could look at the footage and find out who did this,” the security guy says, inspiring a whole new wave of incredulity from the shoppers: “You don’t have a security camera?” “It’s a mall. There’s got to be cameras [in] places.”

The prank is revealed, and all take the news in good stride, though we don’t know whether they come back to buy a Lenovo Yoga.

Not surprisingly, YouTube comments have focused less on the ad, which will run on Lenovo social-media channels and the Above Average comedy network — and more on Lenovo vs. Apple.

“I’d still take the MacBook any day over some rookie Lenovo or something like that,” one commenter says.

“We definitely recognize people will [view] this in different ways, just as we recognize there are passionate supporters of other people’s products,” Bob Cordell, digital marketing manager for Lenovo, told Marketing Daily. “But we hope to do this in a way that we’re upfront about it. We’re not trying to pull a fast one.”

This isn’t the first time a recent ad has pitted the Lenovo Yoga against an Apple MacBook Air. A spot out a few weeks ago presents an “epic dance-off” between the Windows-based Yoga 3 Pro and MacBook Air. Given that it’s a Microsoft ad, you can probably guess who wins.