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Bristol harbour alien revealed as stunt by Watch ahead of 'The Happenings'

By Ishbel Macleod, PR and social media consultant

Taylor Herring

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watch article

December 6, 2013 | 3 min read

A series of paranormal videos released on YouTube in the past week have been revealed as a stunt by TV channel Watch, ahead of the launch of new illusion series 'The Happenings'.The Happenings follows magicians Barry and Stuart as they set about making the unbelievable believable to the unsuspecting residents of towns across the UK and America.The campaign has been running for months, before reaching a climax this week with the appearance of a giant, bioluminescent 'alien' creature in Bristol.Bristolians took to social media from 3 December to report a 15ft, squid-like E.T. pulsing beneath the water in the city's harbour. The sightings racked up over 3.5m Twitter impressions.

Theories on Twitter ranged from ‘freaky glowing squid’ to ‘Father Christmas's underwater sleigh’.

The campaign also saw one video of a squid sighting reaching over 120,000 views, with commenters speculating it might be the work of legendary Bristol artist Banksy.Other viral videos of paranormal and strange occurrences - including a 'haunted' shop - have accumulated over one million views since they appeared on YouTube over the summer and autumn. The social campaign was supported with a live blog on Watch's website which was updated in real-time pulling in images, videos, tweets and media coverage.Richard Watsham, senior commissioning editor at UKTV, said of the campaign: “The Happenings is a new type of narrative magic show that brings the most extraordinary movie scenes to life in front of bewildered onlookers. The outcome is a truly spectacular series that shows Watch can be as bold and innovative as any other channel and this marketing stunt was designed to capture the imagination and create intrigue around the series.”

The series has been co-created by Objective Productions, the team behind Derren Brown’s BAFTA award-winning TV specials, and Crook Productions, and will air on Watch from Monday 9 December at 9pm.

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Taylor Herring

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