Life is strange and unpredictable. Some things have to be seen to be believed, and even then it can be tough to trust your own peepers. Take Milan’s Piazza Mercanti, for instance. It recently became home to what appears to be a submarine bursting through the asphalt. Wait, what?

Whether or not anyone questioned how "real" the sub was, it probably come as no surprise that it was a marketing stunt. Italian insurance group Europ Assistance IT enlisted the creative minds at advertising agency M&C Saatchi Milano to come up with the elaborate installation, intended to promote the company's services in this oh-so-unpredictable world we live in.

Dramatic? For sure‚ÄĒand the still photos are fascinating in a way that brings to mind an alternate universe where special vessels cruise beneath the concrete jungle without ever breaking the surface (subterranean submarines!). But the display also included a staged live ‚Äúperformance‚ÄĚ imagining the event as if it happened in real time, complete with submariners, a faux car accident, and, according to designboom, scuba divers dispensing advice about safeguarding your personal goods.

Based on the video below, the sight of costumed police and emergency responders driving and running through the smoky haze on a busy city street is more than a bit disconcerting. It’s exhausting to contemplate the increasingly myriad ways in which we’ll become unwitting pawns in someone else’s scheme to go viral. [designboom]