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This quite entertaining video circulates via YouTube and other video sharing websites as well as via email. Ostensibly, the video depicts a group of young men experimenting with chewing gum bubbles filled with helium gas. The footage shows the men floating in the air and even jumping safely off a high bridge, after blowing gum bubbles using helium that they sucked into their mouths. Supposedly, the helium trapped in the gum bubbles is able to quite easily lift the boys off the ground, at least until the bubble bursts.
Not surprisingly however, things are not as they seem. The makers of the video have actually used swings suspended below large booms to carry the boys through the air. With the aid of some clever special effects, the swings and booms have been removed from the footage, thus making it appear that the boys are flying through the air solely with the aid of the helium filled gum bubbles. A subsequent "reveal" video shows just how the stunts were achieved:
The video was created as an advertising related viral test. Viral video advertising is a relatively new and quite effective advertising strategy that has been used by an increasing number of companies. In such advertising campaigns, an entertaining video often depicting an outlandish stunt or event is launched on an unsuspecting Internet public. The companies hope that their videos will "go viral" thereby generating a lot of exposure for their products. In some cases, the video will include logos and other material promoting the company. In other cases, the advertiser is not immediately apparent. In this latter version of the tactic, the advertiser will "own up" to the video only after it has become popular and the object of a great deal of online debate. This strategy ensures that the name of the company or product is eventually discussed on a great many websites, blogs, forums and social networks, thereby providing the company with a great deal of free advertising.
The helium chewing gum video is designed to gain the interest of companies who may wish to try this manner of advertising and is hosted on its own "Viral Test" website. Potential advertisers are invited to test out the concept for free by having their company logo added at various places within the footage and then distributing the "personalised" version of the video "far and wide on the Internet".