The massively hyped Mafia Wars stunt in which Zynga hired Snoop Dogg to blow up an armored truck during a live webcast nearly ended up sleeping with the fishes. A particularly notable outcome, as the event took place in the middle of the Nevada desert.
To be fair, live broadcasts are always unpredictable, and what happened here should be a cautionary tale to all. The Zynga webcast started out with a few audio problems in the run-up to the big finale, but once Snoop Dogg showed up, shortly after 9:00pm ET, things seemed like they were going to go smoothly.
The rapper and a Zynga rep stood side by side, staring out at the distant armored truck, when a pyrotechnic expert handed Snoop the trigger device for the explosive-packed vehicle. As the countdown began, everything seemed to shift into slow motion.
The main camera focused on the truck, with Snoop standing off to the side. It sounded like a second camera was set up nearby, as -- just before setting off the explosion -- an off-screen voice told Snoop to move over, as he was blocking the other camera's view.
The roughly 300,000 viewers who had tuned in to see this live event must have been watching their monitors with their mouths agape, as Snoop stepped aside and directly into the path of the main camera as he pressed the button. The upshot -- the truck was completely blocked from view as the explosion was set off, with the massive fireball barely visible around the edges of the rapper's body.
Fortunately, a split-second later, someone on-site switched the live feed to the aforementioned second camera, and the Web audience was able to see most of the blast from that alternate view, literally saving the day for all involved. The effect was still impressive, but clearly the camera angles and talent staging were not blocked out properly beforehand.
Watch the video clip below for a pulse-pounding example on how a very expensive publicity stunt can potentially go horribly wrong at the last minute.