YouTube has pulled a five-second mini-advert for The Nun (a spin-off from The Conjuring) after people complained that it was too scary.
The spot was essentially a jump-scare along the lines of those videos that were sent around in the early days of the internet, where you’d be told to really concentrate on a small detail in a seemingly innocuous video of a car or something, and put your face closer and closer to your ancient CRT monitor, then a big terrifying monster would pop up and you’d scream and punch the screen and hurt yourself. This is the most well-known one, an advert for something or other in Germany. You’d be told to look for an unusual shape in the car’s exhaust.
The makers and/or distributors of The Nun used a similar approach for their microadvertisement - the short ones that come up at the start of YouTube videos and are a waiting game to the ‘Skip Ad’ button - but with an extra twist. It showed an iPhone volume control being lowered, prompting people watching on iPhones to assume it was happening by accident and turn their volume up, and then, well, here it is in ripped form with an added on-screen warning:
It’s a pretty clever spin on an old gag, and an effective way of selling an over-the-top horror film about a scary nun, but unsurprisingly, some of the people who fell for it were less than impressed.
After people complained, not just about the video itself but that it was coming up before comedy and music videos, stuff enormously tonally different from The Nun that nobody could reasonably have expected to be scared shitless before, YouTube took a look at it in regards to its policy on shocking material. This is usually applied to things like crime footage, footage of dead bodies and graphic injuries and stuff, but in this case they found that it applied to the film advert (the restrictions are understandably tighter on adverts delivered to people without their choosing than they are on videos they’ve searched for).
If you find all of this terrifying and want to ensure it never happens to you, by the way, you can go to Google Ad Settings (as long as you are signed in) and make sure Horror isn’t there, and get rid of it if it is.
Now see how long you can follow this red dot…