SociaLogic Sees a Viral Liftoff from “Rapture Jetpack” Stunt

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Low-Budget Print Ad Parody Takes Off On Social Media

In response to the recent $100 million campaign that advertised May 21, 2011 as the date of the “The Rapture,” and amidst mounting media hype foretelling humankind’s imminent demise, Chicago-based social media marketing agency SociaLogic Marketing spied an opportunity to conduct a playful social media experiment. Combining low-budget traditional advertising with the digitally supercharged power of word-of-mouth advertising, the agency launched an earth-shattering idea of its own – the Rapture Jetpack.

The ad was created as a “sign of the times” for the “end of time.” Agency operatives strategically crafted what appeared to be a homemade advertisement for a new device called the Rapture Jetpack. Scores of black and white poster ads (complete with tear-off phone number slips) were printed up and affixed to street posts around Chicago’s highly-trafficked River North and Streeterville neighborhoods near the city’s busy Magnificent Mile shopping district. The ads, which included a photo of a person wearing the jetpack, promoted the futuristic devices as a means for users to fly their way into heaven should they not be among the chosen few to be “Raptured.”

“We listed the price at $50,000, which we seemed was entirely reasonable considering what the product claimed to do,” said Bob Marshall of SociaLogic. “I think most people probably laughed it off, but because we showed a photo and included a phone number, there was definitely a curiosity factor to it. And the fact that it came in pet sizes, too, was a nice touch. We just knew people would be wondering if it was for real. But more importantly, it was the novelty of the idea we hoped would catch fire. You know that feeling you get when you see something you can’t help but want to pass along. It was timely and outrageous.”

People did pass it along, in fact – lots of people. The results were astounding. The day after the Rapture Jetpack ads were posted, photographs of the flyers began appearing on high-traffic sites across the web, including The Daily What (where the post was reblogged over 1300 times on Tumblr), Gawker-owned science fiction website iO9, where it garnered over 47,000 page views, and on the popular advertising blog Copyranter.

Shortly after, news of the traditional black and white flyer was highlighted on College Humor's staff blog, where it was tweeted to the publication's 236,000 followers. The Rapture Jetpack ultimately found its way to The Huffington Post's comedy section, and received local news coverage when the Chicago-based blog Gaper's Block posted a link that was picked up by Fox's Chicago affiliate. The number listed on the poster colelcted hundreds of calls and voicemails, with many callers reporting they had come to learn of the Jetpack on either Facebook or Twitter. Three Rapture-less weeks later, the SociaLogic team continues fielding calls from both the curious and would-be customers shopping for a back-up plan in advance of the next predicted Rapture date, October 21, 2001 (for which SociaLogic is considering the development of a redesigned Jetpack with a built-in cupholder).

The playful mini-campaign illustrates how quickly traditional, low-budget campaigns can become a viral hit fueled by social media. See the flyer and learn more about the the Rapture Jetpack on SociaLogic's blog at

SociaLogic is a full-service social media marketing agency that helps brand managers succeed in the new zeitgeist. We work with clients to create a new social media culture throughout their enterprise – one that can be tracked, monitored, and measured.

SociaLogic strategically establishes a level of dialogue engineered to deliver a sense of empowerment that gets everyone talking about, and actively transforming brands. Through constant monitoring and measuring, we effectively transform piles of data into revealing insights that lead to sustained sales growth and brand engagement on a remarkably efficient new level.


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Matt Marcus
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