Mystery ‘alien’ creature spotted in Bristol harbour revealed as elaborate PR stunt

By on Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A giant ‘alien’ spotted beneath the water in Bristol’s harbour last week has been – perhaps unsurprisingly – revealed as a PR stunt by TV channel Watch to promote its new show The Happenings.

watch pr stunt alien creature

The 15ft squid-like creature seemed to baffle Bristolians, who took to social media to post videos and photos of the alleged E.T. According to the agency behind the stunt, Taylor Herring, ‘more than 6.2 million Twitter impressions related to the sightings have been recorded in over the past four days’ and traffic to the Watch website quadrupled.

The following video appears to be the most popular, having been viewed by more than 600,000 people, but as you can see if you click through, many other popular videos were uploaded:

Obligatory expert Dr Steve Simpson, from the School of Biological Sciences at Bristol University, was quoted in the Mail and Telegraph as saying “It’s very intriguing – I don’t really know what to make of it”, and BBC Bristol called in the services of an expert from Bristol Aquarium to help explain the sightings on the local breakfast show.

Theories as to what the creature was ranged from an art installation, a squid, an alien, a piece by Bristolian graffiti artist Banksy and, less excitingly, a rare type of marine salp.

The Happenings, produced by the same team behind Derren Brown (AKA my favourite person in the whole world)’s shows, follows magicians Barry and Stuart as they set about ‘making the unbelievable believable to the unsuspecting residents of towns across the UK and America’. It started last night at 9pm on Watch.

Read more: Storify (includes all the press mentions of the story/reveal)

Involved agency: Taylor Herring

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