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Too-Good-To-Be-True Small Town CrimeStoppers Video Sparks “Is This A Viral Coke Ad” Theories

This is why we can’t have nice things.

Too-Good-To-Be-True Small Town CrimeStoppers Video Sparks “Is This A Viral Coke Ad” Theories

Update: Shockingly, Coca-Cola has confirmed that neither it nor its bottler was involved in this marketing masterstroke.

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There’s no shortage of faux-viral ad campaigns intended to look like real, shot-in-the-moment videos that have nothing to do with the ostensible product they’re designed to promote. Evan Longoria’s barehanded catch to protect a reporter from a foul ball was an ad for Gillette; the “twerking girl catches fire” spot was a stunt from Jimmy Kimmel Live; Dumb Starbucks was promo for a Comedy Central series; etc, etc, etc. Which makes it hard to trust when you see a new, perfect-in-its-own-way video online that has even a little bit of product placement involved. Such is the case with this video from the St. Landry Parish Crime Stoppers in Louisiana, in which the homespun attitude of Lieutenant Clay Higgins menaces the thief who broke into Stelly’s Supermarket in the town of Lebeau, as a bright red Coca-Cola truck prominently displays its logo in the background and Higgins informs the thief of his plan to go back to Stelly’s after he’s made his arrest and order “a cheeseburger here, with fries and a Coke, and leave a nice tip for the waitress.”

Those two elements–the Coke truck and the Coke reference–have raised suspicions on the Internet. There’s a Reddit thread in which people speculate about whether this is all a stunt, and The Independent cites the video as part of “a disturbing new trend in advertising.” Whether the video is sponsored, in part, by Coca-Cola, though, there’s no doubting that Lt. Clay Higgins himself is a real guy–albeit one with a perfect name, accent, and attitude to be making these videos. In previous efforts, he mocks a house burglar because he “sprayed oil on the back door. Because everybody knows that a lock will just pop right open, almost on its own, if you put oil on it,” and ruminates on the life prospects of the people he seeks, declaring, “I don’t know how much crack $7,100 will buy, but I’m pretty sure it’s enough to get dead with,” in video warnings that feature no product placement, paid-for or inadvertent, except maybe for the church that Higgins feels the suspect needs to visit.

So it’s not a fake ad, if it’s a Coke ad, unless this is all part of a very weird, very thorough, and very unnecessary long-con–but it is possible that the company, recognizing how much potential for viral glory Lt. Clay Higgins carried, tossed the St. Landry’s Parish Sheriff’s Department some money for new cruisers and hats for the deputies, if Higgins shot his video at a time and place they could pull a Coke truck through. We’ll assume that, if that’s the case, Higgins dropped the Coke reference in on his own, because he just sounds so natural when he says it. In the meantime, we’re awaiting a response from Coke about the video.

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About the author

Dan Solomon lives in Austin with his wife and his dog. He's written about music for MTV and Spin, sports for Sports Illustrated, and pop culture for Vulture and the AV Club

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