While this year brought countless stories about privacy and surveillance, specifically in the realm of GPS tracking and hidden cameras, there was also a slew of wonderful videos shot on hidden cams that went viral. Here are our top 5 favorites from 2012:
5. Good Samaritan Saves Toddler
This November news story out of Milwaukee has it all: a thrilling car wreck, a selfless act of heroism, and a security camera rolling to capture the whole thing. Even more than that, it has a happy ending. When a 3-car collision occurred just outside Chico Quinones’ home, he sprang to action. Hearing a toddler crying inside one of the overturned cars and noticing the baby’s mother unconscious, Quinones climbed atop the wreckage and pulled the child out. Miraculously, none of the passengers in any of the vehicles were injured in the accident.
4. TNT’s “Add Drama” Button
TNT, looking to expand its brand in Europe, installed a “Drama Button” on a quiet street in Belgium. Once the button was pressed by an unwitting passerby, the drama began as promised. With a gunfight, kung fu, a car chase and more, stunned townsfolk watched in amazement as the action unfolded. Hidden cameras caught all their reactions in one of the best viral ads of the year. This ad wasn’t the only one to use this tactic; check out this video promoting AMC’s The Walking Dead and this video promoting Pepsi Max for other great examples.
3. Brazilian Elevator Prank
The cruelest hidden camera prank of the year comes courtesy of the Brazilian TV show the Silvio Santos Program. The premise is elaborate: get people into an elevator, fake like it’s stalled and introduce a terrifying ghost girl who screams and quickly disappears. It’s seriously hard to believe that nobody died of shock during this “prank.” Laugh if you wish, but you’d probably be a little shaky if it happened to you.
2. Coke Restores Our Faith in Humanity
While the previous three videos captured almost all aspects of the human range of emotion, no surveillance camera video distilled the power of humanity’s ability to do good more than this Coca-Cola ad. Compiled from surveillance video from around the world and set to Supertramp’s “Give A Little Bit,” this viral sensation shows people from all walks of life protesting for peace, performing random acts of kindness, acting silly, and being truly heroic. Go ahead, it’s OK to cry.
1. The 47%
All of the videos on this list can elicit strong emotions, but our #1 pick for Hidden Camera Video of the Year arguably ended a presidential campaign. First obtained exclusively by Mother Jones, this hidden camera video shot at a private fundraising event for Mitt Romney shows the candidate claiming that 47% of the voting population are “dependent upon government” and “entitled.” With Romney struggling to overcome public perception of him as an out-of-touch rich guy, this video may well have been the final nail in the coffin for the Republican challenger.