Written by Mekanism at 4:42 pm • • 3 Comments • syndication
Being a part of the Mekanism syndication team, I tend to watch a lot of videos on the internets. I know, sweet gig, right?
We spend a lot of time researching social media trends (re: watching viral videos…which I can’t stand calling them) and trying to make sense of it all. More often than not, here’s how it goes: a video appears, people crack up, pass it around and then you probably never hear a whimper out of it again. Read this list. I guarantee that 99.8% of those are a distant internet meme memory to you. And hey, guess what? Chris Crocker STILL isn’t interesting! Couldn’t have seen that one coming.
Now let me make the most captain obvious statement ever: virality causes profitability. Maybe not initially, but if you parlay it right, your overnight one-hit-wonder of a video might get you a mortgage payment or two. Hell, possibly even a career. Take Ellie Kemper.
If you watch the show The Office on NBC, she’s the one who took over for Pam as the front desk “hey, she’s really attractive” girl. If you waste time on the internet all day, you’ll remember her from this viral (inappropriate language, be warned) she did in college with some of her comedy troupe friends. Granted, it was featured on College Humor after the fact…but 12 million views and a highly sought after role on a sitcom later, that inappropriate video looks like a pretty awesome career move.
While I think that’s a great story, this one struck me as…well I’ll let you watch.
Remember that little guy? That’s David from the, “Gosh, kids on drugs are HIIIlarious” video…
I know, you’re wondering where I’m going with this. Let me get there.
David After Dentist was quite the phenomenon. It was a strange one, as it was just a Dad posting a funny video of his kid up, I’m sure, for friends and family to see. Silly David, he took drugs for the first time! Nonetheless, it was everywhere for a while.
But that top video of David talking to Christian Bale (which, if you are confused, is him talking about ANOTHER video OF a viral video that had already happened. With me?)… I guess that one felt a little odd to me. And here’s why.
A kid unwillingly became a product. And it’s not just more videos of Dad telling young David what to say to the camera.
The first time? I’ll give you that one, David’s dad. It was funny, and harmless. But then leveraging your kid for a larger profit? Odd, and possibly even a tad creepy. It’s not like David said, “Hey Dad, I’ve got some thoughts on Christian Bale. Hell, even a few on Obama’s health care plan. Can we sit down and vlog about it for profit?” The fact that his dad had him wear the same t-shirt as he did in the first one is enough to kind of quietly bring up my point.
The reason I have an opinion on this, though, isn’t because of just another video. That’s not the tacky part. This is: to the right of each of David’s videos, you will now find a link to a blog (which I’m SURE David is writing, seeing as he’s, I don’t know, a tiny kid), a shop where you can buy t-shirt that say David’s little tag line, and even a TWITTER FEED. Do people just tweet over and over again saying “that video is funny!”…isn’t that why we have a comments section on YouTube?
Point being, when a kid becomes a product for his Dad to market, is that taking viral videos to a whole new level of exploitation? I see that some of the profits of the t-shirt sales go to charity. Which is awesome. Still, we’re not talking about one big charity run. This kid is a cash crop, and his dad is raking. David, get an agent, man. Because you should make sure this means you have the sweetest ride ever in about eight years when you can drive.
I doubt this is the last time we see this. And who knows, maybe i’m just jealous I don’t have an adorable little guy like David to make silly videos of. I have no problem with a person marketing themselves. I mean, that’s a conscious decision you make for yourself. It’s when someone is marketed against their will in the modern era that I feel a little weird. I just don’t quite believe David is sitting there as the CEO of D.A.D. Industries.
Actually, write that company name down kid, before your dad does. It’s not a bad name for your accidental corporation.