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“On Dec 18, 2012, at 11:44 PM, “Earnest” <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
It’s absolutely fake though. Watch, next week, we’ll find out it’s an ad for Red Bull or something. I’m going to go ahead and post it now.”
That was an email exchange between me and Rob (founder of Big-Boys and still homepage editor) as we discussed the golden eagle video last night. I hated that I felt so cynical about a video we all wanted to believe was real, but I’d been through this before. I’d seen something amazing that was too good to be true and just felt a little off, and I knew it would be revealed to be fake. One of the very first viral videos I could remember having ever seen, a guy getting upset with his computer and smacking the bejeezus out of it with his keyboard, ended up being a bit cut from a commercial:
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That video became popular in the early 2000s when viral videos were quicktime files passed from person to person, listserv to listserv, and newsgroup to newsgroup (You’re probably wondering what a listserv is!). I started working in this biz in 2008 at Stupidvideos, and in 2008 another office freakout video went big.
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That video turned out to be a viral ad for the movie Wanted. If you’re like the rest of America, you immediately asked yourself “HOW IS THAT AN AD FOR WANTED?” I mean, who said to themselves, “that viral video I saw was awesome. I hope the movie turns out to be filled with a lot more fake security camera footage and characters I don’t know or recognize!” Not that it mattered– that video was huge, and the era of the viral ad had arrived. 2008 was filled with viral ads– guys doing flips into jeans, chameleons matching up with the colors of Rayban shades, and even one inexplicably horrible video of a “Gi Joe” skating in a halfpipe.
Some were great, and others were awful, but they all had the same effect of turning everyone who loved awesome videos into jaded fools. We no longer believed that anything was real, and worse, I began to believe that everything was ultimately going to be an ad. That brings us to yesterday. Yeah, I saw the video, and, yeah, I thought it was amazing but would be shown to be a viral ad. It turned out to be fake, as expected– a CGI project from a student in Montreal… probably a viral ad for his school! I just hate that that was my first assumption. Yes, even we Break editors yell “FAKE!” at half the videos out there because, like you, we don’t believe anything we see anymore. And we want to believe! So… thanks, Internet, for reminding us with this Golden Eagle video that we can never believe anything we see and turning us into jaded, cynical curmudgeons.
What are the best or worst fake videos you’ve ever seen? Leave your answers in the comments.