More Bridezilla: Viral Fame, the Day After


If there’s a downside to unexpectedly exploding onto the viral video scene, it’s that you’re probably not ready to handle your fame. Unless you’re a marketing firm, an ad agency, or an experienced auteur, you’re likely to find yourself scrambling to field phone calls, answer e-mails, and generally get your story straight for the media. Confusion begets confusion, and soon enough nobody involved knows what’s what. Just ask Andrew Struthers, who found himself at the mercy of YouTube, Comedy Central, and some Irish guy who pilfered his hit video.

The situation gets more confusing when the video in question is a hoax. Such was the case with the vid Bridezilla which, in addition to being fiction masquerading as a real-life scene, was claimed after its discovery by two different parties. The video’s origin was soon cleared up when the creators appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America. But that wasn’t the end of the story for me.

On Monday evening I received an e-mail from someone purporting to be a friend of Ingrid Haas, the woman who filmed the video. My correspondent said that Haas was launching a media company at, and that I was the only person he had informed. How? He found me on Google. Why? Haas and her friends were appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live the next day, and he wanted to get the word out.

Haas, he said, was starting her own company, and her friends weren’t involved. I visited the site which, not to be unkind, didn’t look like a legit business. I suspected a scam. After all, the original video was a hoax, and my correspondent’s e-mail address was from a Canadian university. Were they trying to keep the gag going? [1]

Eventually, my correspondent put me in touch with Haas. But when I called Haas, she gave me a different story. She said she wasn’t considering a solo venture, that all the girls were sticking together, and that she wasn’t really ready to publicize the site. OK, I said, but who’s the guy e-mailing me? He’s a friend in law school, she said, who had offered to make a website in case she started a company.

At which point I sighed audibly into the phone.

So you see the problem here. Nobody was prepared for the clip to go viral. Not Haas, not Sunsilk, and not the fella who e-mailed me. And while there hasn’t been any adverse effects from the confusion — on the contrary, Haas and company were poised on ABC, and I have no doubt they’ll find new work — I think the story above is fair warning to anyone planning a viral video. Get your stories straight ahead of time. Hire a marketing firm if need be. Don’t confuse us lowly reporters. We ain’t that smart. And in exchange, I promise to stop being so suspicious of Canadians.

anyone who got caught up in my mistake

Steve Bryant is a New York-based writer. His work can also be found on the Reel Pop blog.



I dont really understand though

This could never have been successfull if the company had its name at the end.

The story I have is that Ingrid Haas met a Sunsilk exec at Hemmingways in Toronto and they came up with the idea. She was hired by Capital C who came up with the “wig out” campaign, and asked her to make a crazy and convincing video of someong “wigging out” about their hair on their wedding day. Ingrid hired the other girls, wrote the script, directed it, and filmed it.
Credit is going in different places because different people diserve different credit.


But yeah… other people taking credit for what was ultimately the girls’ ability to baffle the world is no help to them.

I don’t think the credit that has been taken is so misleading, however.
The ad agency has taken credit for their part (coming up with the idea and producing it)
The girls have taken credit for their creation of the film, in the literal sense.

Except for the question of whether it was real or fake, nobody was really misled save for some sloppy journalism.

Steve Bryant

You miss the point. I’m simply saying that an uncoordinated media effort can hinder rather than help a rising star’s fame. It’s PR 101. Don’t confuse the audience.


Was there no way for numanuma to capitalize?

I’d have bought a shirt.
I’d have visited his very own video site, especially if it held a competition to come up with a better video.

You can’t use example of a lack of a career coming out of a viral hit because people just aren’t always smart enough to take full advantage of their media time.

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