05/02/2014 16:55 GMT | Updated 20/05/2015 10:12 BST

Is This A Joke? Shocking Anti-Truancy Advert Shows Teens Being BLOWN UP As They Skip School

A shocking video aimed at stopping students skipping school shows teenagers being BLOWN UP on a beach.

Called 'Set Yourself Free', the Australian video is possibly the most gruesome advert ever made.

It has gone viral on YouTube, with more than 12 millions hits, but there are claims that the 'ad' is a joke, albeit a sick one, dreamed up by a couple of Aussie comedians with way too much time on their hands.

The video shows four students bunk off school to head to the beach – only too discover it is a bomb testing side – with truly grisly consequences.

The teens are filmed piling into a camper van and driving away from their school grounds, slowly swapping their uniforms for bikinis.

As they arrive at what looks to be a deserted beach, they run into the sea and drink alcohol, seemingly having the time of their lives. But when they start to run back up the shore, a series of explosions go off under their feet, scattering blood and body parts everywhere.

Only one girl is left at the end, covered in blood, and staring at her friend's hand next to her.

"This is what happens when you slack off," the ad warns after her friends have been dispatched in a similar fashion. "Stay in school."

The gory video was created for the Learn For Life Foundation, which claims to be a non-profit company promoting the importance of education.

The website features stock images of smiling people, and no contacts, explanations, or further details beyond the single video and a link to its directorial team, Henry Inglis and Aaron McCann - a film-making duo from Perth with a history of producing controversial ads.

They also happen to be comedians.

The website Slate contacted McCann but said he was 'cagey' when asked whether or not Set Yourself Free' was an elaborate prank.

He said the commercial was always intended to be educational, adding: "In terms of the Foundation, we'd like to leave it open to interpretation. [It's] hard to keep intrigue in the internet age."

Slate speculates that it's probably a good bet to assume that Inglis and McCann invented the Foundation for the sake of the joke.

If it IS a joke, we are reminded of Joe Pesci's famous words as Tommy DeVito in Goodfellas: "Funny? Funny how?"