Pranks Gone Wild

Sharyn Alfonsi finds the Web's wackiest fake-out pranks, from ghosts to ghouls to the Pine-Sol lady.
5:47 | 01/11/13

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Transcript for Pranks Gone Wild
we may help you savewith lower co-pays. Walgreens. AT THE CORNEROF HAPPY AND HEALTHY. Reporter: Lurking in elevators, around dark street corners, even in the comfort of your own home -- nowhere is safe from the devious mind of a prankster. You okay? Oh, my god. You gave me a heart attack. Reporter: But what used to be a private joke is now often posted online for the world to see, and see, and see. The best pranks garnering millions of clicks, so now those desperate for a little attention are going big with their pranks. You have to ask yourself, "at what cost are you willing to get this reaction?" "What is the reaction really worth?" So there's a truck -- Reporter: This husband got 4 million views and unflattering headlines for tricking his sleeping wife into thinking their car was about to crash into a truck. Babe, wake up, there's a truck! Ahh! All right, so I snuck into my girlfriend's apartment -- Reporter: And this guy went as far as to pose as a home invader. So once I get back here, going to be wearing this mask. Reporter: Sending his girlfriend and her friends into tearful hysteria. Professional youtube pranksters have been going over the line as well. This guy has made a name pranking workers at drive-thru windows -- here pretending to pass out. And just this week doing an invisible man gag with a phony car seat. So this is how the costume looks. What the heck is going on? Reporter: And over 18 million have watched this guy chase people around miami dressed like a zombie. He claims he was almost shot for his efforts. Media strategist ryan holiday says there is a formula -- extreme pranks equal extreme exposure. How do you know if you've gone too far? It's an arms race. What fooled people yesterday is not what's going to fool them today. And so the things have to get more extreme, they have to get crazier and crazier. Reporter: Consider this one. The work of a brazilian television show -- unsuspecting victims are lured onto an elevator that "breaks down," where they are joined by ghoulish companions. Critics questioned whether the show could be held liable for inflicting "extreme emotional disturbance." But 68 million people watched it. It's the type of exposure advertisers can't buy, so now they too are trying to get in on the often juvenile act. To show how crystal clear their televisions are, electronics company lg got into the elevator terror game. This was a stunt about deadly bad breath by tic tac -- even pine sol scared their way into our viral video hearts. Pine sol lady? Oh, yeah, she's great. Pine sol. Ah! Oh! All press is good press. Reporter: Holiday thinks people are going to continue pushing the limits of pranks to get attention. If you're just someone who's trying to make a name for yourself, you kind of don't have anything to lose. That's even more dangerous. Reporter: Someone like jose barrientos, a stand-up comic and a community college student looking for his big break. I like prank people. Sometimes I feel like I take it too far though. Reporter: Jose -- on a whim, at the start of this past semester decided to prank his speech 101 class by adopting the persona of a stereotypical mexican immigrant -- complete with a pinata. I was born in mexico. My dad, he has a pinata like workshop I guess. He makes pinatas. And at first I thought people were going to laugh, and they didn't, they just kind of took it at face value. Okay, so how many people here know the true history of cinco de mayo? Reporter: Realizing he was on to something, jose decided to take it all the way -- for four straight months. I hung out with these people, we went and got food together, i went to their birthday parties. Reporter: With the accent? I never broke character. So they thought they knew me. Okay, so they would say, "oh, jose, are you on facebook?" And I would be like, "no, what is, what is that?" And they're like, "you know, it's social media." And I was like, "no, I am a christian, I don't do any of that." Reporter: And so when you finally revealed yourself? Mm-hmm. Reporter: Talk about that moment. Well, it was scary. So my speech was on the importance of being able to communicate, and I said, "if you are also afflicted by an accent, I have barrientos accent be gone." Which was a drink, it was a red bull. You take this, and then magically your accent disappears. Reporter: As expected, the reaction was mixed. I don't know man, you got me. You lied to us this whole time? You were playing up that you had an accent, really? Reporter: Jose got an "a" in the class, but he nearly got tossed out of school. And many of his classmates felt betrayed. I do feel bad for that. I mean, that's -- you want to make an omelet, you gotta break some eggs. Reporter: Since november, when jose released the video of his prank, it's collected over 2 million views and he's received all kinds of national media attention. I don't think you can do anything great if you are doing what everybody else is doing. Eventually you have to do something kind of off the wall. Reporter: The comedian, now among those more than happy to take the joke as far as they

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