Israelis channel Tom Cruise to win free smartphones
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Amazing lasers

Israelis channel Tom Cruise to win free smartphones

LG’s ‘Mission Impossible’-style laser maze gave lithe contestants a chance to upgrade their devices

A very lithe Israeli trying to beat LG's laser maze in Tel Aviv (Photo credit: Courtesy)
A very lithe Israeli trying to beat LG's laser maze in Tel Aviv (Photo credit: Courtesy)

If Tom Cruise could do it, why not an ordinary Israeli? Korean electronics giant LG – known for sponsoring outrageous stunts to push its products – came up with the perfect idea to promote its new “laser-focus” smartphone: Get Israelis to snake through a laser beam maze, carefully avoiding hitting a beam, in order to grab an LG G3 device at the center. Hundreds tried, but fewer than a dozen of the most lithe succeeded.

The event took place during the week of Sukkot in Tel Aviv at the newly opened Sarona Market in the city center. Passersby were invited to try their luck at the maze, which was meant to evoke the famous scene in 1996’s “Mission Impossible,” in which Ethan Hunt (Cruise) breaks into CIA headquarters to steal a list of agents, dangling from a high ceiling while trying to avoid lasers, alarms, and sweat – any of which would set off an alarm.

In the movie, the lives of Cruise and his cohorts were at stake – but in Tel Aviv, the prize was a free phone — the new LG G3, the company’s premium smartphone offering, with features like 4G capability, fast processors, and enhanced security. In addition, the device’s camera, says LG, uses lasers to focus on objects, offering what it says is a much more accurate autofocus than other devices, which use smartphone sensors and software to do the autofocusing – and an excuse for staging an event based on lasers to introduce the new device to Israelis.

The laser maze is just the latest stunt by LG to introduce its products. In Paris, LG set up a “phone smasher” machine in 2012 to introduce its G2 model. Passersby inserted their devices into an “upgrade machine,” not knowing what that meant, but instead of getting back a new and improved version of their device, they were “treated” to a slasher-movie experience, in which a mad doctor used a chainsaw, crusher, and other torture devices to destroy their smartphones. Of course, the “victims” got brand new LG devices. The “mad doctor” kindly removed the victims’ SIM cards before destroying their old phones.

In Seoul, South Korea, the introduction of the G2 triggered rioting after the company launched balloons that containing coupons for free devices — and eager fans in the crowd shot down the balloons using BB guns. It ended with 20 people hurt in the ensuing mayhem.

The laser maze was a much calmer affair, said Ziv Kortizky of LG Israel. “We chose Tel Aviv for this event because Israelis are known around the world for their love of life, ability to adapt, and early adoption of gadgets. This event was a smashing success, and we hope to do more unique events in Israel.”

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