Most New Yorkers see through ‘spontaneous’ promo video for Grammy Awards

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NEW YORK (PIX11) – It was shot on a bus cruising along a route through upper Manhattan.

But the sign on the outside of the bus said it was headed for Hunts Point in the Bronx.

When Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, who perform the hit song “Can’t Hold Us,” boarded the vehicle and proceed to entertain the people on the bus it became a hot internet video with more almost 1.8 million views on the YouTube page for the Grammys.

Some wondered about the multiple camera angles and the video’s production values. Press clippings and news coverage included reports that “unsuspecting” riders were surprised by the performance.

But here’s a fact: the bus doesn’t match vehicles currently on the Bx6 route.

The Metropolitan Transportation Agency is investigating the circumstances of the video shoot.  Commercial productions have to request permission from the MTA to shoot on MTA property or with MTA equipment.

MTA Spokesperson Kevin Ortiz says it was “done without our knowledge or consent.” Decommissioned buses are available for rent from private companies in the New York City area.

The MTA has considered drafting a letter to the Recording Academy, which had the video produced and posted it on a YouTube page promoting the upcoming Grammy Awards.

The Recording Academy’s Media Relations department forwarded a comment to PIX11 Reporter Greg Mocker from the creators.

Bob Rayburn, the creative director of TBWA/Chiat Day, says the video was shot in the Morningside Heights area on “a real MTA bus that we had hired for the production so that we could pack it with the hidden cameras.”

“Our passengers had no idea what was in store for them. What you see is their real reactions to the music and the performance from Macklemore & Ryan Lewis,” Rayburn says.

An article in the Hollywood Reporter says “the stunt is part of the Grammy’s ‘Music Unleashes Us’ multiplatform ad campaign, aiming to capture people’s natural, visceral and sometimes uncontrollable reactions to music.”