Sparked by The Dark Knight‘s clever Joker-oriented campaign, viral marketing at Comic Con has been a thing to whip attendees into a frenzy over the possibility of whatever any public spectacle might mean for any of the movies they’re anticipating to find out about at the annual nerd culture hub. Still, a lesson at this year’s festival serves as a reminder that not every public spectacle carries some informational subtext. Sometimes, it’s just what it looks like.
Case in point: a woman was spotted hanging on the lip of a building above the intended site of a party to promote Kick Ass 2, the action sequel featuring Jim Carrey and Chloe Grace Moretz, in what might’ve been taken as a bit of viral marketing in a different context. Look at the woman, nearly about to die! Watch as the costumed actor swoops in to save her, just like a superhero would! But it became clear enough that this woman was actually threatening to jump off, and the public’s fascination turned to horror as they began to call for her not to take the fatal leap. Eventually, she was talked away from the ledge and taken to a mental facility as police and Universal Studios officials were quick to confirm that it wasn’t part of the promotional blitz.
It’s sort of goofy what that says about pop culture’s influence—that the sight of someone threatening to jump off a building, a scenario that most people have likely only seen in movies and television shows, wouldn’t be taken at face value, and that we’d expect a PR firm to be as brazen as to promote their project through such a troubling bit of showmanship. Of course, maybe this gives next year’s planners a truly terrible idea. But hey, at least there are no reports of neckbearded goons refusing to see it for what it was while chanting “JUMP!” in defiance of good taste. One small step for mankind!