entertainment

This Australian company's international viral video prank fooled the world for two years.

When you’re in the business of online journalism, your ‘Bullsh*t Radar’ becomes pretty strong.

You quickly learn to differentiate between what’s too good not to share, and what’s simply too good to be true.

Sadly, many of the awesome headlines you find online seem to fall into the latter category. And as a blonde, I’ve copped my fair share of jokes thanks to my gullible nature. (What? That study finding chocolate to be a weight loss food seemed legit!)

But even the brightest of bulbs in the Aussie media landscape have been left scratching their heads after a small Sydney creative agency Woolshed Co. revealed they were behind some of our favourite viral videos.

Take a look at how many times this video has been viewed. Oh. My. Gosh.

Yup, Woolshed yesterday spoke with Mumbrella claiming that they wrote, shot, and released a series of eight viral videos over the last two years, all of which went viral across the planet.

"...a small independent Australian production company The Woolshed has come forward and admitted it is behind eight of the biggest viral hoaxes, which between them have gone viral in over 180 countries and had been viewed a total of 205 million times," reports Mumbrella.

"The worldwide coverage also garnered 1.6m likes and 500,000 comments on social media, with the world divided as to the authenticity of the clips."

Well played, Woolshed. Well played.

*slow clap*

So, now that we're all feeling sufficiently impressed, let's get to the important questions. What videos were fake? And most importantly - why did they do it?!

ADVERTISEMENT

The Woolshed-produced videos are instantly recognisable, many  of which I shared personally.

Whilst some were too good to be true, others were actually spot on. Remember the GoPro camera that fell of a drone onto the Burning Man dancefloor? Yeah, that one got me, too.

But wait, there's more.

The video of the Stormtrooper falling down the stairs in Melbourne? Fake.

The guy closely escaping a great white shark in Sydney harbour? Fake.

How about the one where a snowboarder is followed down the mountain by a bear? FAKE!

via GIPHY

So why did the Woolshed team decide to play such an enormous prank? Well, for research sake, of course!

“We set out to better understand exactly how to create short-form, highly shareable, snackable content that is capable of reaching worldwide mass audiences without the luxury of pricey media buys, ad campaigns, publicity strategies or distribution deals." said director Dave Christison.

“We didn’t have the budget to create movie magic like a $100m film can do, so we had to kind of work within the perimeters that we had,” he adds.

So, with the help of funding from Screen Australia, they set out on what was to become the 'Viral Experiment'. The entire team pitched in, with many of them starring in the videos. The videos found such unexpected success, they were able to start offering them as a 'guerilla' advertising medium.

"The success of its first video resulted in the Woolshed’s first commercial job, ‘crazy guy runs into outback tornado to take selfie’," reports Mumbrella, "which was commissioned by Roadshow Films to promote the film ‘Into The Storm’."

Geddit?

For anyone feeling shirty that the Woolshed team had tricked the media can rest assured - they put it out for plain sight.

"When asked if he felt guilty about duping the media, Christison said he was surprised no-one had noticed how five of the videos originated from the same account accredited to Terry Tufferson, including the twister video, which had already been owned up to as a fake."

Bravo, Woolshed. You guys got us GOOD.

via GIPHY

00:00 / ???