The gag was designed to promote a series of deodorants supposedly specifically marketed for use in stressful situations.
The victims were lured into the Hamburg Airport by “friends” and left to wait in a specific area, where the gag team were able to take a long-range photo of their face. This was then put into a mock-up of the Hamburger Morgenpost newspaper, which itself reported on the prank on Monday.
An actor then sat opposite the victim reading the newspaper, making sure the large “wanted” picture of them on the front page was visible to them and other people in the waiting area.
By the time the actor had walked off, the picture was being used on a fake news broadcast being played on the television screens in that part of the airport. An announcement was also made over loudspeakers, saying the wanted person was considered dangerous and should not be approached.
A video of the gag shows people sitting next to one young woman subject slowly realizing she is in their midst, while visibly stressed, she protests her innocence.
Two fake security guards then approach the victim with a case and after asking whether the person is feeling stressed, they open it to show the new products.
Producer of the Nivea products, German cosmetics firm Beiersdorf, put a video of the gag on Youtube where it has been seen more than 2.5 million times.